Eight Asiatic lions in Hyderabad zoo test Covid positive

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on May 04, 2021

At least eight Asiatic lions at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad have tested positive for Covid 19, forcing the authorities to close the zoo.

ICMR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology will investigate how the lions contracted the virus and the source of infection. The State government has decided to close all zoologcal parks, including Nehru Zoological park, other national parks and various wildlife sanctuaries in Telangana until further orders, following a directive from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

After veterinarians in the park detected symptoms in the lions such as loss of appetite and nasal discharge, their samples were sent to CCMB-LACONES, and the results came out positive. They are now recovering well and analysis of samples reveals the infection was not caused by any variant of concern.

Transmission to humans

The Ministry has also stated that there is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans.

On April 24, Nehru Zoological Park shared samples collected from the nose, throat and respiratory tract of the lions. Based on detailed diagnostic tests and report as shared by CCMB-LaCONES on May 4, it has now been confirmed that these 8 lions have tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus.

The eight lions have been isolated and due care and necessary treatment have been provided.

The Central Zoo Authority has taken several pre-emptive measures, including issuance of guidelines and advisories to the zoos, towards precautions to be undertaken in the light of increasing number of cases of SARS CoV-2.

In view of rapid spread of SARS Cov-2 in the country, the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change has issued advisory to close all Zoological Parks, National Parks, Tiger Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries for visitors till further orders to control the spread of the Covid-19.

Accordingly, R Shobha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Telangana, has issued orders to close the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad; Kakatiya Zoological Park, Warangal; Kawal and Amrabad Tiger Reserves, and all National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Telangana with immediate effect.

Published on May 04, 2021

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