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Chennai: Lioness dies of COVID-19, 8 more lions test positive at zoo

Monday, June 7, 2021 • Tamil Comments

A 9-year-old lioness died of Covid-19 in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, while eight other lions have reportedly tested positive for the virus. Swab samples, blood samples, nasal swab, rectal swab and faecal samples of 11 lions were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Diseases (NIHSAD) Bhopal, and samples of tiger and other large mammals are also being sent for testing.

A press release issued by the Arignar Anna Zoological Park said, "A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported in the Asiatic lions at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur on June 3. Few of the lion has been found symptomatic and one of them - a nine-year-old lioness Neela succumbed to the disease on the evening of June 3. The zoo officials have immediately quarantined all the Asiatic lions and under the supervision of the senior vets of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary University treatments have been started. As per the laboratory test results furnished by the Institute, samples in respect of nine lions of the 11 sent, have tested positive for SARS COV-2."

"In order to ascertain whether or not the reported findings are in the nature of false positives or the animal could have died of comorbidities, samples have also been sent on 4.6.2021 to the Indian Veterinary Research institute Bareilly and the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. As precautionary measures, the Tamil Nadu government had closed all the zoos for the visitors in the state since April 20," the statement added.

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