The impact of Covid-19 pandemic has been such that even animals are affected with the infection.
The impact of Covid-19 pandemic has been such that even animals are affected with the infection. Recently, lions at a zoo in Chennai, Tamil Nadu have tested positive for Covid-19 and one nine year old lioness- also known as Neela succumbed to the viral infection. So far, eight other lions at the Aringnar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) near Vandalur have been tested positive for the virus. According to a statement by zoo authorities, the lioness died of Covid-19 on June 3 at around 6:15 pm, a report by The IE noted.
The statement added that the lioness had been asymptomatic. On June 2, a day before its death, some nasal discharge was seen and immediately, treatment was provided considering it a symptom.
It is to note that the zoological park has around 15 lions where eight are female and seven are male. Test results of four are currently awaited. According to the officials, the lions that were initially tested positive for the Coronavirus infection were not the part of two groups belonging to the safari area. It was on May 26, when some symptoms of nasal discharge were seen along with fever and anorexia (loss of appetite) in some cases. Occasional coughing was also seen among lions.
The report highlighted that the in-house veterinary team of the zoological park took an immediate action and provided a team as well as experts from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS). These experts joined zoo officials in order to investigate and decide the course of the treatment for these lions. Blood samples of these lions were collected and were sent to TANUVAS. To run tests, nasal swab, rectal swab and faecal samples of 11 lions were also collected and the National Institute of High Security Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal will look at these samples. To be sure, these institutes are authorized to test SARS CoV-2 in captive animals.
Citing a senior official from the zoological park, the report noted it’s difficult to ascertain how the virus has transmitted to animals. He added that the officials are considering two possibilities. Either from the caretaker or the feed that is given to the animals. However, people engaged with the work are vaccinated against Covid-19 and are being tested. In fact, the feed is also “irradiated in the ultraviolet room.” Therefore, they are not able to find out the actual cause of the transmission.
Meanwhile, collecting samples from lions is also difficult as they try to collect samples without giving sedation because it is likely to compromise the immunity of the animals.