Testing times: Borneo orangutans get Covid swabs


Wildlife officials said antigen tests on all 30 of the red-haired creatures in Sabah state came back negative

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. 

“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. 

Vets will continue to closely monitor the apes and tests will be conducted regularly, officials said. 

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. 

Bornean orangutans are classified as “critically endangered” by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Borneo is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. 

Originally published as Testing times: Borneo orangutans get Covid swabs



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