Coronavirus impact: Santa Rosa's Safari West takes extra precautions after NYC zoo's tiger tests positive for COVID-19

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Those from Safari West are taking extra precautions in light of the tiger that has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoon in New York City.

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"Immediately when we heard what happened at the Bronx zoo we have pulled our keepers aside and let them know that there are going to be a little bit of changes," says Nikki Smith of Safari West.

Starting Monday all animal keepers will be wearing masks with filters in them. Safari West doesn't have tigers like the Bronx Zoo, but the wildlife preserve has nearly 1,000 other animals.

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Smith says they are well aware of zoonotic diseases or those spread from humans to animals and vice versa. Traditionally those include certain flu types, infection types, and many other diseases.

Smith says all of the animals are a concern for them but certain groups more than others, "definitely our primates and our carnivores we have cheetahs, hyenas, foxes, lots of different species that can be potentially exposed to any of the things that humans can get.

In addition to the masks employees are also using gloves when feeding, spraying sanitizer on handles and doors when entering and exiting habitats, and using foot bath stations when going into or coming out of those areas. All of this in an effort to avoid the spread of a virus like COVID-19.

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