A day after a lioness died due to a suspected coronavirus infection and eight other lions tested positive for the virus, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur has said that two of the aged lions who have the virus are slowly responding to treatment. In a release on Saturday, the zoo said, â€śAll the lions which have tested positive are under close observation and on prescribed treatment regimen by the in-house veterinary team in close coordination with expert team from Tamil Nadu Veterinary University (TANUVAS).â€ť
â€śOut of the eight lions, two aged lions are responding slowly to the treatment,â€ť the release said. The lions are treated based on the protocol provided TANUVAS doctors including Dr Srikumar, Professor and HoD, Wildlife Department; Dr Baranitharan, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicines; Dr Bothiappan, Assistant Professor, Clinical Medicines; in-house veterinary officer Dr Thayasekhar; and veterinary assistant surgeon Dr Sridhar.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests has instructed the Director, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur to follow the treatment protocol suggested by the Central Zoo Authority of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary University, and to ensure the safety of the animal keepers and other animals maintained in the zoo, the statement said.
On May 26, five lions started showing loss of appetite and mild cough following which the officials sent the samples of the big cats for testing to National Institute of High Security Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Out of the 11 samples, nine samples returned positive, and one of the nine, a lioness named Neela (9), died on June 3. She was largely asymptomatic but showed nasal discharge a day before her death on June 2, the zoo said.
Following this, the zoo instructed animal keepers, veterinary doctors and field staff to mandatorily wear PPE kits. However, the Union government has said that there is no factual evidence that the animals can transmit the disease to the humans.
Earlier, news reports had said that lions at Hyderabad, Etawah and Jaipur zoos had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.