Animal Planet Explores how Covid19 affects animals

Covid19 pandemic is one of those events that happens once in a lifetime. It will therefore be the subject of art and filmmaking for years. Some efforts are already made in regards to this and there are documentary film makers that are looking for ways to document what’s happening.

This is the case with the Animal Planet documentary that’s coming out right now and that’s documenting the effect the pandemic is having on animals. It’s a small project, limited by the cirmustances but an interesting one.

The Zoo: Covid 19

The film will be called The Zoo: Covid19 and it’s a short film that explores the impact the pandemic of covid19 has on animals. It’s broad in its approach and it’s done in cooperation with Pet owners, animal lovers and zookeepers and others who work with animals directly.

It’s not an in depth study since it’s too early and impossible to do right now, but anecdotally it tells a lot about how different people and different animals deal with the strange times that we all live in now.  Future documentaries on the subject will reference this one.

The talent

The documentary has Animal Planet’s big cat expert Dave Salmoni talking to experts, including Bronx Zoo’s chief veterinarian Paul Calle, a WHO scientist and so on. Salmoni tries to make the audience understand in layman terms how COVID-19 affects animals.

This is an interesting approach because the virus itself has an animal origin to it and this is a full circle that you can draw even with this rudimentary data we have at our disposal right now. There are plenty of other scientists that should provide their input and that will probably be the case in the future.

Bronx Zoo

The film was inspired by a particular incident and it grew from there. It was an incident involving a tiger in that establishment and it led to the whole story coming together. The concerns began when the four-year-old Malayan tigress, named Nadia, at New York’s Bronx Zoo was tested positive for COVID-19 after she started showing signs of illness on March 27. Four more tigers and three lions were later tested positive as well.

In the end, it’s those events that have led to the scientist figuring out that animals can contract and spread the virus and cats especially so.

The statement

In a statement, Salmoni said, “When news about Nadia the tiger came out the questions immediately began; what about my pets? How do I keep my animals and family safe? We’regoing to answer these questions and more through this documentary.” 

“We’re speaking to a wide range of experts from the World Health Organization, to wildlife biologists, to veterinarians. We are at war with this disease and so we get down to the nitty gritty, and discuss practical questions about daily lives with our pets,” he added.

Sai Abishek, Director Content, Factual & Lifestyle Entertainment South Asia, Discovery, said, “We have been the forefront of busting myths around novel Corona virus with international documentaries. With this latest film, we take a hard look at how animals are being treated during such a crisis and the safety measures that can be taken to keep both, the people and their pets healthy.”

The premier

“The Zoo: COVID-19 And Animals” will premiere on May 17 on Animal Planet, Animal Planet HD and Discovery Plus app. It will be an interesting event on its own because it will be the first glimpse as to how the movies will look now when social distancing has become a part our daily lives.

We are to expect a lot more conference call interviews and much less contact on the screen in the years to come.


Animal planet is producing the first film about the effects covid19 pandemic will have on our lives and as a surprise to no one, they are focusing on the effect it will have on animals in particular. The film starts with the incident in the Bronx Zoo that proved that the illness affect tigers and goes on from there.

It will be the first such film and it’s thus made with a lot of restrains and with not that much data. However, it’s an interesting experiment never the less.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It was initially reported to the WHO on December 31, 2019. On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, its first such designation since declaring H1N1 influenza a pandemic in 2009.

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