One more lion dies of Covid at Vandalur Zoo

Chennai: An Asiatic lion died of SARS Cov-2 infection at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP), popularly called as Vandalur Zoo here, Wednesday.

Sources said the deceased lion was one of the nine lions which had tested positive for the virus about 10 days back.

The condition of two the nine lions were said to be critical following which one of them died Wednesday.

An official release from AAZP said the 12-year-old male lion named Pathbanathan and housed in Lion Safari area of AAZP, passed away at 10.15 am.

The samples of the deceased lion had tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 as per the report of the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, communciated on 3 June. The lion was under intensive treatment since then.

This is the second death reported at AAZP due to the Covid infection after a nine-year-old lioness Neela died on 3 June evening.

An official release from the AAZP on 4 June said on 26 May, five Asiatic lions housed in Animal House-1 of the Safari Park Area of the Zoo were reported to show anorexia (loss of appetite) and occasional coughing.

The in-house veterinary team of this zoo took immediate action to investigate and treat the animals as per protocol, the release said.

Blood samples were sent to TANUVAS and Nasal swab, Rectal swab and faecal samples of 11 lions were sent to National Institute of High Security Diseases (NIHSAD) Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which was one of the four 4 designated institutes authorised to take up SARS CoV-2 testing in captive animals.

One of the lioness, Neela, housed in Animal House no-2 at the Safari area of zoo died on 3 June.

The lioness had been asymptotic and showed some nasal discharge only on June two and had been symptomatically treated immediately.

As per the laboratory test results furnished by the Institute, samples in respect of nine of the 11 lions have tested positive for SARS CoV-2.

In order to ascertain whether or not the reported findings are in the nature of false positives or the animal could have died of comorbidities, samples have also been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

The Park has been scrupulously following the precautionary measures prescribed in various advisories issued by the Central Zoo Authority, the Central and the State Governments from time to time.

Prophylactic measures for the felids, mustelids, viverrids and primates as arrived at in consultation with the expert team of TANUVAS, the veterinarians of Hyderabad Zoo and also Bronx Zoo, are being adhered to.


NT Bureau