Hyderabad: Eight out of the 12 Asiatic lions at Hyderabad's Nehru Zoological Park have tested positive for the coronavirus. This marks the first time the virus has been found at an Indian zoo since the pandemic broke out
Following symptoms like loss of appetite, cough and nasal discharge, the zoo authorities informed the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular biology laboratory. The Oropharyngeal samples of the lions were collected and were sent to CCMB for testing. To which, the RTPCR test of the eight lions confirmed positive, informed CCMB director Dr Rakesh Mishra.
"This is not a matter of grave concern, the lions have shown symptoms in April, 2021. By now, they have recovered and are doing fine. The minister of environment has already ordered all zoos to shut down till further orders. Efforts are on to ensure that the virus does not spread to the zoo staff and other animals. The lions are currently under isolation," the director told NewsMeter. An official press statement is likely to be issued by the zoo authorities.
It is to note that since May 1, the Zoo authorities have shut doors for visitors. This was based on orders issued by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.
Dr. Karthikeyan Vasudevan, a scientist-in-charge at CCMB's Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), said, "There are well-established reports of several different types of coronavirus being found in animals, specifically here we are talking about Sars-CoV-2 commonly known as COVID-19. It has been transmitted to humans from animals and now we are talking about the virus being transmitted from humans back to animals. The ramifications are huge."
Dr. Vasudevan added that as we are learning more about the virus we have to study how it is being transmitted to animals. "We as a human are still stuck in getting treatment for ourselves. Also, the vaccine is for humans only. There is always the possibility of the virus getting transmitted to animals and we have to gather more information to understand the phenomenon. How is it being transmitted back to animals and how will it impact us?" he said.
Meanwhile, the Zoo authorities are in want of a General Physician (MBBS/ MD) who is required to work in Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad as a Zoo Consultant Doctor for treating Zoo staff and visitors. The candidate should be above 25 years old and shall have an experience of at least 3-4 years.
The specifications include, the Doctor shall regularly attend on every Sunday and when called in case of an emergency on any day. Interested candidates can send their Resume along with the credentials on this email id:- [email protected], addressing the Curator, Nehru Zoological Park, Hyd.