A gorilla has been tested for coronavirus after developing a fever thanks to wounds picked up in a fight with his brother.
Shango, 31, a 433-pound ape who lives at Zoo Miami, was treated at an animal hospital on Wednesday after the scuffle with Barney, 26, which left him with several injuries including a deep bite.
Photos show the patient sedated and strapped to a treatment table while a medic uses a swab to take a sample from inside his nose – with the result coming back negative.
A TB test and bronchoscopy were also undertaken, as were X-rays, vaccinations, and an ultrasound, reports WFOR-TV.
The Covid-19 test was administered as a precaution after a low-grade fever was detected.
The two brothers were transferred to Miami in May 2017, having been born at San Francisco Zoo, and live together in the gorilla habitat.
Confrontations between male gorillas are common but usually consist of posturing rather than serious injuries.
However, staff noticed Shango was being very cautious over his arm following the fight and so was immobilized for closer examination.
The wounds were cleaned and treated, with the primate having not suffered any bone breaks and recovered well from the anesthesia.
Zoo officials said the lowland gorilla’s bite wounds were “quite deep”, but “fortunately did not appear to result in any permanent damage”.
Shango will continue to be monitored but no decision as to when he will be re-introduced to Barney has yet been made.
That will depend on “behavioral assessments made by the staff combined with the healing progress of his injuries”.
Female Malayan tiger Nadia, four, is believed to have been the first animal to test positive for the virus in the US.
The four-year-old, of the Bronx Zoo, in New York City, is thought to have been infected by an asymptomatic zookeeper in April.
“This is the first time that any of us know of anywhere in the world that a person infected the animal and the animal got sick,” Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the zoo, said at the time.
Meanwhile, outdoor attractions at zoos were allowed to re-open in England on June 15 with their cafés and exhibits following soon after.
It came as ministers announced zoo operators could bid for a slice of £100million to ease the impact of the crisis.
The Government scheme will run until April 2021.
Experts had warned the lack of visitors was crippling the industry and stripping some zoos of their funding lifeline – making it difficult to afford food for some animals.