Eight Asiatic lions in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park have tested positive for coronavirus. All the eight lions have responded well to the treatment and are recovering well, a statement by the environment ministry said.
Swabs from the nose, throat and respiratory tract were taken from the lions under anaesthesia with abundant caution after they showed signs of respiratory distress.
An analysis of the sample showed that the infection was not caused by any variant of concern. The zoo has been closed to visitors to avoid minimal external contact and preventive measures put in place for all zoo staff.
Based on experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that have experienced SARS-COV2 positive last year, there is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans any further, the government statement said.
As a preemptive measure the central zoo authority has issued advisories to the zoos towards precautions to be undertaken in the light of the increasing number of Covid cases.
Scientific agencies and experts such as the Indian veterinary research institute in Uttar Pradesh and centre for cellular and molecular biology – Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Hyderabad have been part of consultation for guidelines on prevention, sample collection, detection in suspected cases, and safety protocols for animal keepers.