Henry Vilas Zoo awaits permit to vaccinate animals

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Henry Vilas Zoo hopes to begin vaccinations before the end of summer to help keep animals protected from COVID-19.

Zoo officials say so far, there have been no COVID-19 infections among the animals and the goal is to keep it that way.

Henry Vilas Zoo is one of more than 40 zoos set to participate in a vaccine trial.

Vaccine doses were donated to the zoo by Zoetis, an animal health care company. The goal is to vaccinate the animals most at risk like big cats, apes, lemurs, skunks, badgers, and otters.

“Knowing that COVID-19 can affect these species, we’re very excited to work with Zoetis,” said Joseph Darcangelo, Deputy Zoo Director.

He says the next step is for their clinical vet to work with the state to get the proper permits. The hope is this will happen by the end of July.

Training will also be needed before vaccinations can be given.

“The keepers will be working very closely with the vet department and our curators and zoological managers to put together a training regime so that they can receive the first vaccine and then I believe the next one would come in a few weeks after that so they have to be prepared,” said Darcangelo.

The Milwaukee County Zoo is also participating.

“We’re very excited to partner with 40 plus AZA accredited zoos throughout the nation to really take a look at how COVID has affected our animals and how we can create an opportunity to prevent this from happening to any of our animals in our collection,” said Darcangelo.

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