Chennai: The Tamilnadu government has constituted a State Level Task Force (STF) to provide support and guidance to authorities about the prevention and mitigation of Covid-19 infections in wild and captive animals in the Tiger Reserves, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries Reserve Forests.
The STF, to be headed by Supriya Sahu, Principal Secretary Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department, was formed in the wake of death of a lioness and a lion due to Covid at Anna Arignar Zoological Park (AAZP), popularly called as Vandalur Zoo.
The STF will have six members including the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoD), the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Special Secretary (Forests), Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director, Advanced Institute of Wildlife Conservation, R Sundararaju,(Retd), former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden and S Theodore Baskaran, Wildlife Conservationist.
The task force shall have a close watch on disease surveillance, mapping and monitoring system, vaccination and other important associated departments and publish periodic reports, according to an official release.
The Task force will commence its work immediate and meet periodically to review the measures, a GO issued by Sahu said.
It is to be noted that genome sequencing samples of four of the nine lions, which tested positive for SARS Cov-2 at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) at Vandalur, has revealed that they are Delta variants as per World Health Organisation (WHO) nomenclature.
The AAZP authorities requested the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseas (NIHSAD), Bhopal, to share the results of genome sequencing of the SARS Cov-2 virus that has infected the lions at AAZP.