A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus, making her the first of her kind to contract COVID-19. The tiger, named Nadia, was tested after she, five other big cats began showing symptoms of the respiratory illness. After the news broke, Twitter users made light of the situation with jokes about the Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
On Sunday, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported the 4-year-old Malayan tiger developed a dry cough and is expected to recover. Nadia's sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions showed the same symptoms and are also expected to recover. Nadia's test was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
"We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus," the WCS said in a statement. "Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers. It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries."
'Carole Baskins, Where are you???'
Tiger King. Carol Baskins. Where are you??? Tigers with Covad. pic.twitter.com/JH7PmP33pg— JUDGE-ments (@paddy0_bronx) April 5, 2020
According to the WCS, the four tigers life at the Bronx Zoo's Tiger Mountain exhibit. There is also a male Amur tiger there, but he has not shown any symptoms. Other tigers in the Wile Asia exhibit, as well as snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard and puma are showing symptoms.
Hey all you cool cats and kittens. Coronavirus spreads; Tiger King streams; a Tiger at the Bronx News tests positive for Coronavirus. Who could it be? That’s a secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me. Xoxo, Big Cat Rescue Girl pic.twitter.com/wMEyni2SW2— c h u c k 🥺 👉🏻👈🏻 (@charles_samuel5) April 5, 2020
'Tiger King Season Two Plotline'
"Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms," the statement continued. "Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats."
Tiger King Season Two Plotline. Who gave Nadia, the Tiger at the Bronx Zoo, the Coronavirus? Rick Kirkham, Carole Baskin, Jeff Lowe or Doc Antle. pic.twitter.com/HpkbyCj02U— Cabbie Richards (@Cabbie) April 5, 2020
'Carole Baskin Must Have Been to the Bronx Zoo'
With millions of Netflix subscribers stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, Tiger King has become a streaming sensation since it was released on March 20. The seven-episode series enters on the rivalry between Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin and big cat collector Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic." Maldanado-Passage is now serving 22 years in prison after being convicted of plotting Baskin's murder and hiring a hitman.
So you all got obsessed with a show called Tiger King, and now there's a tiger in the Bronx Zoo which has corona (which means "crown"), and I don't know what to do with this information.— Josiah Hawthorne (@JosiahHawthorne) April 6, 2020
'Not Ready for This Tiger King Crossover'
Anyone else think this Bronx tiger coronavirus thing is a result of Netflix and Tiger King? Have to be connected— K¡rchner (@iamdamiker) April 6, 2020
This weekend, Jeff Lowe, Exotic's former business partner, claimed another episode of Tiger King is in the works. "Netflix is adding one more episode. It will be on next week. We’re filming here tomorrow," Lowe said in a video shared by Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner.
was not ready for this tiger king crossover https://t.co/nOSQBqhJs4— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) April 5, 2020
'There's a Tiger King Joke in There Somewhere'
"You know it would be nice if I could actually see me being famous out there, but I've seen these same four walls for a year and a half now," Exotic said in a jailhouse interview Netflix shared last week.
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus and look I KNOW there's a Tiger King joke in there somewhere so lets just say that this is an IKEA joke, assemble it yourself, I know you can do it!— Reverend Steve (@ReverendSteve) April 5, 2020
"I'm done with the Carole Baskin saga," he later said. "It's now time to turn the tables and Joe get out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges."
"Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus in first believed US animal case" https://t.co/KZm1TISYbj@BetterPhetasy Do you think Tiger King had something to do with this? 🤔 Kinda weird how the FIRST human to animal transfer was a Tiger!— Polkaroo's Nightmare (@Polkaroos_NTMR) April 5, 2020
'Too Much of a Coincidence'
Tiger in a Bronx zoo tests positive for Coronavirus in first case of U.S to animal transmission. Next week #TigerKing releases a new episode dealing with Exotic Joe contracting Covid 19 in Prison, Carole Baskin killing her husband and the coming tiger cull. pic.twitter.com/P1jebUUrps— BidenBro™ 🍥 (@DickTugging) April 5, 2020
As of Sunday night, there are more than 337,000 coronavirus cases in the U.S., more than any other country. There are also more than 9,600 deaths, including 2,256 in New York City alone.
I’m sorry but I really cANNOT handle the news of not only Joe Exotic contracting corona but also a tiger at the Bronx Zoo now has as well. It feels like too much of a coincidence as Tiger King viewership is on the RISE!!! There is a conspiracy theory here, I KNOW IT— Sarah 🆒 (@Sarahndipity_95) April 5, 2020
Photo credit: James Devaney/Getty Images