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Big cats back at Sioux Falls zoo after negative virus tests

November 27, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Big cats are back on display at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls after a snow leopard died of COVID-19.

The animals, including tigers and snow leopards, have tested negative for the virus and were to return to their exhibits on Wednesday, zoo officials said.

On Oct. 6, the zoo reported that a tiger tested positive for the virus . Shortly after, other big cats at the zoo began exhibiting similar symptoms, zoo officials said.

A day later. a snow leopard died.

Necropsy results on the snow leopard later confirmed she had died from pneumonia induced by the virus, zoo officials said.

The Argus Leader reports the zoo’s veterinary staff has run consistent lab tests on the big cats throughout their illness. Lab tests confirm all of the zoo’s big cat collection is clear of the virus and can once again be in the exhibit space and seen by the public.