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Great Plains Zoo snow leopard that exhibited COVID-19 symptoms dies

The zoo says Baya began exhibiting a cough and lethargy over the weekend.
The zoo says Baya began exhibiting a cough and lethargy over the weekend.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:33 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Great Plains Zoo says Baya, a snow leopard, died Thursday night after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

The zoo says Baya began exhibiting a cough and lethargy over the weekend. Baya’s respiratory function rapidly declined Thursday, the zoo says. A team at the zoo provided 24-hour care for Baya but she passed away despite their best efforts.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Baya. Our animal care and veterinary staff fought arduously and did their best to help give Baya a fighting chance. Each day, our animal care staff work to give our animals high-quality care and their passion and dedication is evident. This loss is a deep wound, and our team grieves together,” Becky Dewitz, GPZ CEO, said.

On Wednesday, one of the zoo’s Amur tigers, Keesa, tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

A necropsy will be performed to investigate the cause of death.

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