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Update on our western lowland gorilla population: As a follow-up to the news we shared on Friday, September 10, about the gorillas and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, please check out the update below.

Of the 20 gorillas here at the Zoo, 18 have shown clinical signs consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection. As of today, we have received nine positive results. For the most part, the clinical signs have been mild to moderate, and at this time, only two gorillas remain symptomatic.

Clinical signs have included sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, selective and reduced appetite, and in some individuals, subdued behavior. In addition to close monitoring and providing supportive care such as providing extra Vitamin C, our team’s primary goals are ensuring that the gorillas all remain well hydrated by providing them with additional fluids by mouth, as well as monitoring them carefully to ensure that each is eating and receiving enough calories.

We continue to take this challenging situation day by day, but remain cautiously optimistic that all of the gorillas will make a full recovery. On an encouraging note, the first troop to originally show clinical signs is now symptom-free. We continue to track everyone’s progress carefully on a daily basis. Additionally, we are collecting samples every three days from all gorilla groups and/or individual gorillas to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Thanks to our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams, the orangutans, lions, tigers, and clouded leopard – species known to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 – have now all been vaccinated. As the gorillas recover, they will all also be vaccinated. This is an incredible testament to the positive reinforcement training achievements of the care teams.

We are so thankful for the words of support and kind thoughts we’ve received from throughout our extended Zoo Atlanta family, near and far. We have been able to see, once again, how special the gorillas and other animals are to you, and we appreciate your being part of their lives!


Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the new Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit


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