Amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Director of the Lucknow Zoo on Monday said that the Zoo was taking additional precautionary measures for animals and its staff. Among other precautionary measures include food provided to the animals being disinfected, the official said.
Speaking to the media, Zoo Director Rajendra Kumar Singh said, "Only 50 per cent of Lucknow Zoo's staff are working and they are maintaining high standards of hygiene. We are disinfecting food before providing it to animals. We have also made a quarantine ward for animals possibly infected by the COVID-19 if the need arises."
Meanwhile, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has asked all zoos across the country to monitor the health of kept animals as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 after a tiger in a US zoo tested positive for the virus.
In a letter to all States and Union Territories, CZA Member Secretary SP Yadav said that the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed COVID-19 in a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York. "Zoos in the country are, therefore, advised to remain on highest alertness, and monitor animals 24X7 using CCTVs for any abnormal behaviour or symptoms," it said.
The authority said carnivores, especially cats, ferrets, and primates, need to be carefully monitored and fortnightly samples of suspected cases are sent to designated animal health institutes for COVID-19 testing. The samples can be sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease in Bhopal, the National Research Centre on Equines in Haryana's Hisar and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, the letter said.
Earlier, a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for the coronavirus infection. The female tiger, named Nadia, is believed to be the first known case of an animal infected with COVID-19 in the US. It is suspected that she contracted the virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at that time. The incident has raised concerns over whether the infection can be transmitted between animals and humans. According to media reports, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong also tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
(With agencies input)