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Tamil Nadu: 28 elephants at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve tested for COVID-19

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Udhagamandalam, June 08: Swabs of 28 captive elephants at a camp in the district on Tuesday have been taken for testing, days after a lioness succumbed to COVID-19 and nine others in the pride tested positive for the infection at a Zoo in Chennai.

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Forest minister K Ramachandran ordered samples to be collected from all the elephants and send them to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh for testing, forest department sources said.

Accordingly, samples of all the 28 elephants at the Mudumalai camp near here were taken till noon, after making them lie on one side and removing the swabs from trunk and mouth,the sources said. The testing is being done after a lioness at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur in Chennai died due to coronavirus on Thursday, and nine of the 11 in the park tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of 52 mahouts and 27 kavadis (assistant to mahouts) at the camp have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The feeding time of the elephants has been staggered and the mahouts and kavadis are allowed to enter only after checking their temperature.

The Kozhikmudi camp in Topslip has 18 male and 10 female elephants, of which three are kumkis (tamed elephants), five ''safari'' elephants and four aged ones, an official release said.

A total of 60 mahouts and assistants and their family members got vaccinated in the camp, thus becoming the first one in Tamil Nadu where 100 per cent got vaccinated, it said.

The minister distributed a total of Rs 3.5 lakh to families affected by elephant attacks in the area.

He also distributed uniform for staff of anti-poaching squad and PPE Kits to forest guards, the release said.

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