There's growing fear endangered mountain gorillas -- our closest relatives in the animal kingdom -- could contract COVID-19, and it's triggered a lockdown of sorts.
On the heels of a Bronx Zoo tiger testing positive for the coronavirus -- researches in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are concerned the great apes in that area could suffer the same fate. They've put an immediate halt on all tourism related to encounters with the gorillas.
Sanctuaries for other apes, like orangutans, have also closed to the public ... according to the BBC. The concern is the virus potentially wiping out an endangered species -- infections disease is one of the top 3 threats to some great apes.
Consider this ... research has shown chimps can contract the common cold virus, and ebola is believed to have killed THOUSANDS of chimps and gorillas in Africa during that outbreak.
Researches say they're not sure if the virus has infected mountain gorillas ... they haven't seen any evidence yet. But, a leading veterinary doctor for Africa's mountain gorillas told the BBC the animals are susceptible to the same pathogens as us, so "we know that they can develop respiratory illness."
Vets and rangers are still caring for gorillas ... and they're applying social distancing. Tourists were already kept 22 feet away from gorillas at all times even before the lockdown.