New Delhi: Forests and Environment Ministry said on Tuesday that Hyderabad Zoo's eight Asiatic lions have been diagnosed with respiratory distress after contracting the SARS-CoV2 virus. All the eight lions have been isolated and are responding well to treatment.
The centre added that the virus detected in the lions is not of concern to humans, and there is no evidence of transmission from animals.
"On April 24, with an abundance of caution, Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad shared samples (collected from nose, throat, and respiratory tract, under anaesthesia) from eight Asiatic lions housed in the zoo that had showed signs of respiratory distress," the release said.
It added that it has now been confirmed that the lions have tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus based on detailed diagnostic tests. Further analyses revealed the infection was not due to any "variant of concern" to human beings.
As per the source, the lions are behaving normally and eating well. Preventive measures are already in place for all staff, with the zoo being closed to minimise external contact.
Also, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has taken pre-emptive measures and issued guidelines and advisories to zoos in light of the increasing number of SARS CoV-2 case. CZA said that based on experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that have experienced SARS-CoV2, there is no factual evidence animals can transmit the disease to humans. Read more
The report stated that SARS-CoV2 refers to the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. There are a few documented cases of animals, large felines, contracting coronavirus. In April 2020, four tigers and three lions at a zoo in the United States tested positive. All of them recovered.
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