Otters Fall Ill With COVID-19 at the Georgia Aquarium


Otter pictured swimming at the Georgia Aquarium habitat. Photo provided by Georgia Aquarium. Some rights reserved for the Georgia Aquarium.

As of April 18, 2021, the Asian small-clawed otters featured in an exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, a virus directly leading to Covid-19

Now being cared for in a secluded area away from public interactions, the otter pack has come down with various symptoms such as a runny nose, moderate exhaustion, inactivity, sneezing and coughing…all telltale signs that the virus was possibly transmitted to the animals through an asymptomatic staff member. Although the otters are expected to make a full recovery, the aquarium has ensured that extreme levels of monitoring and further precautionary steps have been thoroughly executed.

 “We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover,” The Vice President of environmental and animal health at the Georgia Aquarium stated.

Ever since the animal group was tested, all staff members in correlation with the otters have been tested for the virus as well. Georgia Aquarium ensures that the otters will make a reappearance to the public eye as soon as the veterinarians permit the transition. 

“Awe, I hope the otters are okay! They were my favorite exhibit to visit when I was younger. I never knew the virus could transfer to animals to this level of severity,” Thia Haney, a senior residing at Lambert High School remarks after hearing news of the Georgia Aquarium otter’s sudden ill disposition.

The risk of human-to-animal transmission of Coronavirus is a relatively new predicament. Although extremely rare, it is possible that any pet owner can pass the virus onto their furry counterparts through respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing. As new vaccines emerge for pets, research has explained that although humans can endanger animals with the virus, the contrary arrangement is not of known possibility at this time.

If a pet does end up coming down with various strands of the virus, it is highly encouraged that the owner makes contact with their trusted veterinarian immediately.

Although the Asian small-clawed otters will be dearly missed during their absence from public view, the Georgia Aquarium is pleased to announce that the otters have been persistently improving daily and all other animals under the Atlanta aquarium’s care have been maintaining a healthy status as well!

For continued updates and more information on the Asian small-clawed otter species, visit Georgia Aquarium’s official website