Testing times-- Borneo orangutans get Covid swabs
Dozens of critically endangered orangutans in Malaysia have been tested for the coronavirus, with vets in protective suits undertaking the tricky task of giving the apes nasal swabs.
The antigen tests on 30 of the red-haired creatures in Sabah state on Borneo island were conducted last Tuesday, and all came back negative, wildlife officials said.
They were the first virus tests on orangutans in the Southeast Asian country, and were ordered after staff at a rehabilitation centre and wildlife park became infected.
Testing for Covid-19 has been a vital tool in helping us get through this pandemic, and it is similarly important for this orangutan population, said Sen Nathan, assistant director of the Sabah Wildlife Department.
The disease could prove vastly detrimental to their health and set back their rehabilitation.
Vets will continue to closely monitor the apes and tests will be conducted regularly, officials said.
Animals have become infected with Covid-19 on occasion. At the weekend, a zoo in Atlanta announced that several of its gorillas had tested positive. Domestic cats, dogs and at least one ferret have also been infected.
Malaysia is fighting a serious Covid-19 outbreak driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, and has been recording thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths each day.
Sabah, on the northeastern tip of Borneo and home to vast tracts of jungle and a kaleidoscope of rare animals, has also faced a surge in cases.
Bornean orangutans are classified as critically endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Their populations have declined by more than 50 percent over the past 60 years, according to the WWF, as the animals' forest habitat has been progressively cut down to make way for agricultural plantations.
Borneo is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
(2021/09/15 09:54)Click Here for Japanese Translation
AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL
- 09/21 10:51 End of the line looms for hawkers, rough sleepers at Bangkok station
- 09/21 10:45 Iceland's volcanic eruption the longest in half a century
- 09/21 10:35 Tall tale-- world-beating Dutch are getting shorter
- 09/21 10:32 Evergrande-- China's fragile housing giant
- 09/21 10:19 Gun-toting Taliban mingle with families and kids at Kabul Zoo
- 09/21 10:13 Bees kill dozens of endangered penguins in South Africa
- 09/17 19:00 Statue to bitcoin inventor unveiled in Budapest
- 09/17 12:57 French rugby player banned for six months over 'banana eater' racist comments
- 09/17 12:38 Retired passenger jet perched on Bali cliff to lure tourists
- 09/17 12:30 New Van Gogh drawing of old man discovered
- 09/17 12:23 California winemakers take wildfire-fighting into their own hands
- 09/17 12:14 Mexican lottery winners scoop drug lord homes
- 09/16 13:32 BTS issued diplomatic passports for UN session
- 09/16 13:26 Unknown Lennon recording to be auctioned in Denmark
- 09/16 13:20 Little to celebrate after 50 years of activism-- Greenpeace chief
- 09/16 13:13 Dubious of Trump's sanity, US general secretly called China-- book
- 09/16 13:07 At Kabul airport, remnants of US war bear testimony to chaotic exit
- 09/16 13:04 Afghan art activist defiant as Taliban erase Kabul murals
- 09/15 10:18 Bioscience firm claims will bring back extinct woolly mammoth
- 09/15 10:15 Chinese court throws out first #MeToo case
- 09/15 10:08 No bull! Climate researchers 'potty train' peeing cows
- 09/15 10:04 Dogs of war-- Afghan mutts find new home after missing US evacuation
- 09/15 10:01 A billionaire, a cancer survivor... Who will be on the next SpaceX mission?
- 09/15 09:54 Testing times-- Borneo orangutans get Covid swabs
- 09/14 11:02 Mars rocks collected by Perseverance boost case for ancient life
- 09/14 10:59 Unaccompanied children evacuated from Afghanistan in Qatar limbo
- 09/14 10:46 Kenya hails anti-poaching efforts in first wildlife census
- 09/14 10:39 Belgium creates garbage highway for flood victims' waste
- 09/14 10:35 Warlord chic-- Taliban make themselves at home in Dostum's mansion
- 09/14 10:31 Thai device tests for coronavirus in armpit sweat
- 09/13 13:03 Sri Lanka organic revolution threatens tea disaster
- 09/13 13:01 Swiss glaciologist bears witness to relentless Alpine glacier melt
- 09/13 12:58 Uphill battle-- Spain's wine growers adapt to climate change
- 09/13 12:54 Radioactive rhino horns may deter poachers in S.Africa
- 09/13 12:52 Sri Lanka returns stolen elephants to captors
- 09/13 12:46 French abortion film wins on big night for women at Venice festival