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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Announces COVID-19 Vaccinations for Zoo Animals

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Several animals at the Seneca Park Zoo have been vaccinated in recent weeks

Rochester, NY – Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced that several animals living at the Seneca Park Zoo have been successfully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The giraffes, lions, tiger, snow leopards, and otters have been fully vaccinated, and other animals including the lynx and baboons will also soon be vaccinated.

“The medical staff at the Seneca Park Zoo are diligently working to keep our zoo staff, visitors, and animals better protected against COVID-19,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “We followed science in deciding to inoculate our at-risk animals. It is our responsibility and charge to do everything we can to keep our animals and zoo staff as safe as possible.”

The animals that receive the vaccine were selected based on susceptibility and exposure.

“Based on positive cases at other zoos, we know cats, primates, and otters are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Giraffe are likely low risk, but we chose to vaccinate them as they have a relatively high exposure as part of our public feeding program,” said Dr. Louis DiVincenti. “Our behavior management program enables our animals to participate in their own healthcare, and all of the animals vaccinated allowed us to hand inject them.”

There have been no adverse effects in any of the animals, and zoo staff will collect blood samples to monitor antibody production in response to the vaccine. Zoetis, the world’s largest producer of medications and vaccines for pets and livestock, developed the vaccine specifically for animals and donated doses to the zoo, and to nearly 100 other institutions around the country.

“Providing the COVID-19 vaccine to some of our at-risk animals is an important preventative during this pandemic,” said Seneca Park Zoo Superintendent Steve Lacy. “We want to ensure each of the animals in our care live a healthy, fulfilling life.”

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