Zoo Boise vaccinates animals against COVID-19

January 21, 2022 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Just like other Idaho residents, some animals at Zoo Boise are getting vaccinated against coronavirus.

So far, about half of the animals have received COVID-19 vaccinations, Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway told KIVI-TV.

The zoo is following the guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans is low, but it can happen. Recently a snow leopard at the Illinois Zoo and three snow leopards in Nebraska died from COVID-19 complications.

Zoo Boise began rolling out its vaccination plan last year with a two-dose vaccination series meant for animals. Animals who were at the highest risk of contracting the virus — primates, otters, hoofed animals and those that are in close contact with the public — were vaccinated first.


“For example, our farm animals. We have a feeding program with guests that visit the zoo so all of those animals were put into that first phase,” Holloway said.

Holloway says no animals have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. All of the cats and felines will be fully vaccinated within the next few weeks, and then zoo staffers will start vaccinating the lower risk animals.

Holloway says the top priority is keeping the animals and employees safe.