Hyderabad: The Telangana government has directed zookeepers to monitor all animals and report any COVID-19 like symptoms to the authorities without any delay.

This follows the report that a tiger has been tested positive for COVID-19 in Bronx Zoo, New York. The tiger in the US is suspected to have infected a zookeeper who was tested positive for COVID-19.

“It has been noticed that the disease can be also transferred from human to animals. The zookeepers have been asked to strictly follow a disinfectant procedure and sanitize before feeding animals or cleaning their enclosures”, said Principal Conservator of Forests R.Shobah in an order.

Zoo keepers have been asked to keep an eye on animals and report any COVID like symptoms to higher-ups. Arrangements have been finalized to sent animal swabs to National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease (NHSAD) Bhopal, MP, National Research Centre on Equines, Haryana, and Centre for Animal Research Diagnostic Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Uttar Pradesh.

The symptoms in Tigers will be observed using a Camera trap image. As a precautionary measure, all the enclosures and night houses of the animals will be thoroughly sanitized.

The government has asked the zookeepers to report the natural death of animals to the authorities. Samples of all dead animals will be tested to rule out COVID-19 infection.

Besides zoos, monkeys and langurs in the forests and villages will also be monitored for coronavirus like symptoms.

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has also issued advisories to all the sanctuaries, tiger reserves, and zoos across the nation. The ministry has asked concerned authorities to set-up a Rapid Action Force consisting of Filed Managers, Veterinary doctors, and frontline staff to manage the situation as quickly as possible. The Centre will enhance disease surveillance and monitoring of animals by coordinating with various departments.

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