Eight Asiatic lions have tested positive for coronavirus in Hyderabad zoo. This is the first of its kind in India so far where the wild cats have been tested positive.
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology told the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) on April 29 that the RT-PCR tests of these lions had come out positive for coronavirus.
Curator and Director of NZP Dr. Siddhanand Kukrety did not officially confirm the news. “It’s true that the lions showed Covid symptoms but I’m yet to receive the RT-PCR reports from the CCMB and hence it will not be proper to comment.
Dr. Shirish Upadhye, director of Wildlife Research & Training Centre (WRTC), said that after eight tigers and lions tested positive for coronavirus in Bronx Zoo, no other such reports have emerged. The virus was, however, found in dogs and cats in Hong Kong, he said.
The CCMB scientists will now do genome sequencing to figure out if this strain came from animals or human beings. The case of lions triggered the MoEFCC to issue a detailed advisory on April 30 to chief wildlife wardens asking them to shut all national parks, sanctuaries, and tiger reserves over fears of transmission.