TORONTO — For months, Toronto residents have been highly encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, but now, some of the city’s animals are getting the jabs, too.
Toronto Zoo CEO Dolph Djong told Granthshala News Toronto on Thursday that they are waiting for Canada’s approval, which is currently being offered to US zoo animals.
“What we have seen in accredited zoos in the United States is a vaccine being deployed that is providing a level of protection [against COVID-19] … we certainly want to add this additional level of protection for animals as soon as it is approved for use in Canada,” he said.
DeJong says he is looking forward to the additional level of protection, especially for the zoo’s more vulnerable animals.
“Animals such as gorillas and orangutans, which are very similar to humans, are prone to respiratory disease in some cases – adding this extra level of protection is very important,” he said.
“We have the oldest orangutan in North America in our care [and] A 29-year-old orangutan who is pregnant.”
DeJong said the zoo will aim to vaccinate all primates, big cats, pigs, bats and Mustelidae — a family of mammals that includes weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, minks and wolverines.
“There are 140 of them here that are on the list that we want to get those shots again and get them vaccinated,” he said.
When the vaccine is approved, DeJong says he is confident his team will have no problem administering it.
“The great part about the animals in our care is that a lot of them are actually trained to receive injections,” he said.
“We know that our team and our animals will be ready as soon as we get approval.”
The Toronto Zoo currently requires all eligible visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.