White Tiger Cubs in Pakistan Likely Died of COVID-19

February 15, 2021 Updated: February 15, 2021

Two 11-week-old white tiger cubs that died in a Pakistani zoo last month appear to have died of COVID-19, officials said.

Zoo officials believe two white tiger cubs that died in a Pakistan zoo last month may have been victims of COVID-19.

The cubs died in the Lahore Zoo on Jan. 30, four days after beginning treatment for what officials thought was feline panleukopenia virus—a disease the zoo said is common in Pakistan and targets cats’ immune systems.

But an autopsy found the cubs’ lungs were badly damaged and they were suffering from severe infection. Pathologists concluded that they died from COVID-19.

Zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem said the cubs had probably caught the virus from someone handling and feeding them.

She said all the zoo’s staff were tested for coronavirus with six testing positive including one who handled the cubs.

Animal rights activists say hundreds of animals die in Pakistan’s zoos from poor living conditions and neglect and Zufishan Anushay, founder of the Justice for Kiki Animal Rescue And Shelter, said this case was no different.

Saleem rejected such allegations, saying that animal rights activists were welcome to visit.

Reporting by Olivia Chan