Lions in the city zoo
(Representative Photo)
Lions in the city zoo (Representative Photo)

BHOPAL: The report of eight Asiatic lions testing positive for coronavirus at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on Tuesday has put Van Vihar officials on toes.

There were similar reports from the US during first wave of Covid 19.

Instructions have been issued to be extra vigilant from the apex body (Central Zoo Authority) and also by senior forest officials in the state. Interaction between human and animals to be minimized, the instructions said.

In zoos, the animal keepers should strictly follow the corona guidelines. ìIn Van Vihar there are around 55 animal keepers, who take care of food, etc and look after the enclosure,î said deputy director AK Jain.

All keepers have been vaccinated. Only some are left for the second dose of corona vaccine. ìThey have a different set of clothes for animal enclosures which they leave here only before going homeî said Jain. Their clothes are sanitised regularly.

ìVan Vihar was closed timely and no visitors are now allowed that has reduced human interaction. According to latest instructions from the CZA special permission would be required to open it again for the public,î he added.

At present there are 3 lions, 13 tigers and 11 leopards in Van Vihar. They are all under special supervision including CCTV monitoring.

The food that is being brought for the carnivores gets special treatment. Buffalo meat is brought for the lion, tiger and leopards. It goes through special treatment. First it is kept in boiled water to destroy any kind of virus and then cooled. After that, it is served to the animals.

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