After Hyderabad Zoo, it's the turn of Chennai's Anna Arignar Zoological Park located in Vandalur, on the city's outskirts, to see its lions test positive for COVID-19. A release from the zoo authorities said concerns first arose when five lions within the zoo's Safari enclosure displayed loss of appetite and "occasional" coughing. A nine-year-old lioness later succumbed to the illness.
The zoo said it conducted nasal and rectal swabs on its 11 lions and sent blood samples for further testing to the National Institute of High Security Diseases, in Bhopal. "As per laboratory test results furnished by the institute, samples in respect of nine lions out of the 11 sent have tested positive for SARS CoV-2," said a release from the zoo.
However, rather tragically, one of the lionesses at the Anna Arignar Zoo has succumbed to COVID. Authorities say nine-year-old Neela was asymptomatic. "The lioness was asymptomatic, showed some nasal discharge only the day before (June 2), and had been treated symptomatically almost immediately," the release added.
The zoological park claims it has been dutifully following SOPs laid down during the pandemic. All zookeepers have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and wear PPE suits while tending to the animals. There are separate sets of zookeepers assigned to each of the lions.
(Edited by: By Jomy Jos Pullokaran)