Lion dies of coronavirus in Chennai zoo, 9 others l test positive

by MCR Correspondent

A lion in Chennai zoo has died of coronavirus while nine others were reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.

According to a statement issued by the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, at Vandalur near Chennai, nine ou of their eleven captive lions have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Neela, a nine-year-old lion who was housed in the zoo, died on Thursday June 3, 2021.

A report confirmed that Neela died after showing some nasal discharge on Wednesday.

Authorities maintained that the lion was provided treatment immediately after it showcased symptoms.

“On May 26, five lions housed in the Animal House 1 of the Safari Park area of the zoo were reported to show loss of appetite (anorexia) and occasional coughing,” the authorities said.

“Following this, an in-house veterinary team along with those from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University(TANUVAS) took immediate action and offered treatment.

“The big cats’ blood samples and nasal swabs were sent to TANUVAS. Rectal swab and fecal samples of the 11 lions were sent to the National Institute of High Security Diseases (NIHSAD) Bhopal, which is among the designated institutes to take up SARS COV-2 testing in captive animals.”

In order to ascertain whether or not the reported results are false positives or the animal could have died of other complications (comorbidities), further samples have also been taken. They were sent on Friday to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

The zoo authorities stated that they had been following the precautions issues by the Central Zoo Authority, the Central and the State Governments from time to time.

They also stressed that measures to prevent diseases (prophylactic measures) are being undertaken for the different families of animals such as felids (cats), mustelids (mammals of the weasel family), viverrids (small-medium mammals), and primates.

These disease preventive steps are said to be taken in consultation with experts from TANUVAS, Veterinarians of Hyderabad Zoo, and Bronx Zoo.

“All the lions that have tested positive are under close observation and on prescribed treatment regimen by the in-house veterinary team in close coordination with the expert team from TANUVAS.

“All animal keepers and helpers for these animal houses are vaccinated against Covid 19. Separate set of animal keepers are engaged for each group of lions. PPE Kits are mandatory for the animal keepers, veterinary doctors and field staff visiting the area,” concluded the statement from the Zoo.

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