We're all trying to stay safe in 2022. If that means social distancing, wearing a mask, or getting vaccinated, everyone wants to remain healthy. And it's not just limited to us humble humans.

Don't second guess if you read the headline correctly. You did. Zoo Boise is, and has been, vaccinating many of their animals to protect them against COVID-19. Because, as we've learned, some animals are susceptible to the virus. Doug Holloway, Director of Parks and Recreation, explains:

More than half of our animals have been vaccinated at this point and time. We will never ever compromise the health and safety of our Parks and Recreation Zoo Team, the health and safety of our guests that visit Zoo Boise and obviously and certainly the health, safety and enrichment of our family of animals that we have at Zoo Boise.

There have been documented cases of animals transmitting, and even dying from, COVID-19. Two recent cases include one snow leopard in Illinois and three in Nebraska. Luckily for us, the risk of animals giving COVID-19 to a human is extremely rare, although it can actually happen. Holloway elaborates:

Our top priority is keeping our employees safe and so if that means we needed to vaccinate animals in order to be certain there is no exchange between them and our staff, that is a top priority. Our animals mean a lot to us and mean a lot to the community, and they are a part of our family as well and so anything we can do to add an extra layer of protection to our animals, we want to do that.

So far, no animals at Zoo Boise have ever tested positive for COVID-19. However, a few of the penguins have started a Facebook group protesting their vaccine mandate.

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