Hyderabad: The worst fears of the veterinarians at the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) in Hyderabad has come true. After witnessing coronavirus-like symptoms including loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and coughing among the lions, the authorities decided to conduct RTPCR tests and eight lions tested positive.
Four males and four females each tested positive out of the 12 lions in the 40-acre safari area.It is a first in India that as many as eight lions tested positive.
Dr. Shirish Upadhye, director of Wildlife Research & Training Centre (WRTC), said that after eight tigers and lions tested positive for coronavirus in Bronx Zoo, no other such reports have emerged. The virus was, however, found in dogs and cats in Hong Kong, he said.Curator and Director of NZP Dr. Siddhanand Kukrety said that he was to receive the tests and added that the lions are doing well.
The management advised the veterinarians to take samples after they informed the officials of the lions’ symptoms. Oropharyngeal (part of the pharynx between the soft palate and the hyoid bone) swab samples of the lions were taken and sent to the CCMB in Hyderabad.
The daily stated that CCMB scientists will now do genome sequencing to figure out if this strain came from animals or human beings.
The case of lions triggered the MoEFCC to issue a detailed advisory on April 30 to chief wildlife wardens asking them to shut all national parks, sanctuaries, and tiger reserves over fears of transmission.The NZP has been closed to the public for two days. Recently 25 park staff tested positive for coronavirus.