Ranchi: 7 Royal Bengal tigers, five other big cats at Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park test negative for COVID
Ranchi, Jun 13: The samples of seven Royal Bengal tigers and five other big cats at the Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park here have tested negative for COVID-19, a senior zoo official said on Saturday.
The samples of tiger Shiva, which had died on June 3 following prolonged illness, were among those that tested negative. The felines' samples were sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh amid reports of several big cats in captivity testing positive for the infection across the country.
"The COVID-19 test reports of 12 animals, including seven Royal Bengal tigers, returned negative," Zoo Director Y K Das told PTI.
The animals whose samples were tested include tigers Java, Malik, Gauri, Laxmi, Saraswati and Kavery, Asiatic lions Viru and Jaya, hybrid lion Priyanka, black panther Mirza, leopard Radha, besides Shiva.
Das said that while the zoo is closed, steps have been taken to prevent transmission of the infection among animals, including vaccination of the zoo staffers and their regular testing.
Regular fogging and sanitation of the enclosures and other parts of the park have been undertaken. A high alert was sounded in Ranchi zoo after eight Asiatic lions tested positive for COVID-19 in Hyderabad in May, making it the first such case in the country.
On June 4, lioness Neela succumbed to COVID-19 and nine other felines of the pride tested positive for the infection at Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur near Chennai.