USA: 14-year-old tiger dies of Covid-19 in Ohio zoo

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“We are sad to report that 14-year-old Amur tiger, Jupiter, passed away on Sunday, June 26, 2022, after developing pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 virus.”

Jupiter had been on long term treatment for chronic underlying illnesses, which made him more susceptible to this virus. Jupiter is the first animal at the Columbus Zoo to succumb to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, June 22, Jupiter was reported by his care team to be acting ill. (He was not interested in eating, and was reluctant to stand, move or interact with keepers.) When this continued into the next day, Jupiter was anesthetized for examination and treatment.

Initial exams suggested an infection, and treatment was started. Unfortunately, Jupiter did not improve with this treatment and remained reluctant to move and eat. The following day, he was given additional treatments and had more diagnostic testing. Although he appeared stable, Jupiter passed away overnight.

As a precautionary measure, we are requiring staff working with cats, great apes and mustelids (i.e., otters, wolverines) to wear masks when within six feet of these animals. These animals are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

Jupiter was born at the Moscow Zoo on July 9, 2007. He arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on March 19, 2015 after spending time at the Zoo Dvur Kralove in the Czech Republic. He sired nine cubs, (six were born at the Columbus Zoo), contributing to the future of this endangered species.

Jupiter’s care team remembers him as a big and impressive tiger who loved fish, sleeping in the habitat’s cave, playing with cardboard boxes, and interacting with another favorite item—a 75-pound firehouse “plus sign” that was heavy for keepers to move but something he carried around like it weighed nothing.

His care team also fondly remembers the trust they built with Jupiter over time through training and how he was always very friendly with the female tigers, Mara and Natasha.

Jupiter will be greatly missed. We welcome you to share your favorite memories of Jupiter in the comments. Please keep our Asia Quest team in your thoughts.

Columbus Zoo Facebook page


Many of the animals at high-risk of contracting Covid-19, including the tigers, were vaccinated at Columbus zoo in 2021:

Several Species at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations



USA: Covid vaccine breakthrough in three more tigers



** This post was originally published on June 30, 2022 **