Lion dies of Covid at Vandalur Zoo, 9 test positive

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 13, 2021

All the lions that have tested positive are under close observation and on prescribed treatment regimen (file photo)   -  The Hindu

The lions are under close observation

Nine lions at the Vandalur Zoo (Arignar Anna Zoological Park) on the outskirts of Chennai have tested positive for SARS CoV-2.

The lions are under close observation and treatment. A lioness aged nine died on June 3, said a statement issued by the zoo authorities..

On May 26, five lions housed in Animal House I of the Safari Park of the zoo were reported to be showing anorexia (loss of appetite) and occasional coughing. While the in-house veterinary team took immediate action to investigate and treat the animals, a team of experts was deputed by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) to join the zoo’s veterinarians in investigating and to decide the treatment.

Blood samples were sent to TANUVAS and nasal swab, rectal swab and faecal samples of 11 lions were taken to National Institute of High Security Diseases, Bhopal, which is one of the four designated institutes authorised to take up SARS CoV-2 testing in captive animals.

One lioness (Neela - aged 9) housed in Animal House 2 died on Thursday evening. She had been asymptomatic and showed some nasal discharge only the day before and had been treated immediately.

The lab results said that out of 11 samples, nine tested positive for SARS CoV-2. To ascertain whether the reported findings are in the nature of false positive or the animal could have died of co-morbidities, samples have also been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research institute in Bareilly and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Under observation

All the lions that have tested positive are under close observation and on prescribed treatment regimen.

All animal keepers and helpers for these animal houses are vaccinated against Covid-19. Separate sets of animal keepers are engaged for each group of lions, the statement said.

Last month eight lions at the Hyderabad zoo tested positive.

Published on June 04, 2021

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