The zoo tested the gorillas' fecal samples after two of them began coughing Wednesday, the zoo said in a news release.
Two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for COVID-19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a press conference on Monday.
"Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well", the world-famous zoo's executive director Lisa Peterson said in a statement.
"I would never want to speculate on when that might be possible", Peterson said. He's the leader. He guides them throughout the day.
It was not immediately clear how many gorillas tested positive for the virus. While there are documented cases of mink-to-human transmission in the Netherlands and Denmark, there is no evidence that the other species can make humans sick.
Like the lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo, which tested positive in April, the three infected gorillas probably contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zoo worker, according to Peterson.
The zoo adds that staff members wear PPE gear when around the gorillas.
Preliminary tests run on the two gorillas detected COVID-19 on Friday, and the The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the results today.
The confirmation that gorillas are susceptible to the coronavirus contributes to information about how the pandemic may affect these species in their native habitats where they come into contact with humans and human materials, the park officials said. "Everybody is a little more tempered in their activities", Peterson says, "but they're getting fluids and eating well".
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first case of an animal in the US testing positive for COVID-19 was a tiger at a NY zoo.
The virus also has shown up in a number of household dogs and cats.
The great apes continue to be observed closely by the San Diego Zoo Global veterinary team. The park has been closed to the public since December 6 as part of California's lockdown. At unaccredited zoos, many of which lack the expertise and professionalism of accredited facilities, it's unknown how many animals, if any, may have contracted the virus without ever being tested.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park plans to share what it learns with health officials, conservationists and scientists to develop steps to protect gorillas in the forests of Africa.