Chattanooga Zoo Vaccinates 5 Species Against COVID

Friday, May 13, 2022
Jaguar
Jaguar

The Chattanooga Zoo announces that a total of 10 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to five species. Among them are the Jaguar pair, female Northern White-Cheeked Gibbon, and three members of the Chimpanzee Troop. 

One bottle of vaccine contains 10 doses which must be used within 24 hours of opening. With that in mind, Animal Care Director and General Curator Lacey Hickle was strategic in her planning when giving the vaccine.

“We of course want to start with our most at-risk species," said Ms. Hickle. "This happened to line up during the annual physicals of three of our Chimps; Artemus, Shirley, and Katrina. From there, we simply added seven more individuals who are trained to participate in hand-injection and who are susceptible to contracting the disease.” 

While this first dose was given to 10 individuals, the Zoo’s goal is that every at-risk species will be fully vaccinated. The Zoo’s Veterinarian, Dr. Anthony Ashley, conducted the Chimpanzee physicals and helped to administer what would be the first vaccines.  “We’re thrilled to be giving these first vaccines today. While it’s extremely beneficial to these individuals, it’s also instrumental to the health of our entire Zoo. The more animals we can protect through inoculations, the lower the risk for our entire collection”, says Dr. Ashley.

He also speaks to the importance of training with our animals regularly, and the success that it brings to vaccinations. “While having the vaccines on hand is the first step, the next (and potentially even more integral) step is the ability to administer the antibodies. The training that Zookeepers do and the relationships that they build with our animals is what truly allows us to make these strides. Without hand-injection, we wouldn’t be able to protect our population with as much success.”


Keeper Amanda with an empty syringe
Keeper Amanda with an empty syringe

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