On 24th April 2021, eight Asiatic Lions housed in the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), Hyderabad exhibited signs of respiratory distress.Thereupon the veterinary team of the Zoo collected oral discharge swabs and the samples were sent to CCMB-LaCONES for diagnosis. Based on detailed diagnostic tests and report as shared by CCMB-LaCONES on 4th May 2021, it was confirmed that all the eight Asiatic lions housed
were tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus.
Further analyses of the samples have revealed that the infection was not caused by any variant of concern. All the eight lions were isolated and due care and necessary treatment was provided by the veterinary team of Nehru Zoological Park from 24th April itself The veterinary team of the Zoo provided treatment to all the lions and
supervised their wellbeing. Additionally, the animal keepers taking care of the Lions were provided with PPE. The moats were kept well ventilated and sanitized regularly. All the eight lions have responded well to the treatment and recovered.
They are now active and taking regular dietPreventive measures have already been taken to avoid spread of SARS-CoV2 from public and the zoo staff. A special drive was conducted in the first week of April to vaccinate all the staff and 95% of the Zoo staff has already been vaccinated. A few of the staff members, who tested positive for SARS-
CoV2, have been asked to remain under isolation.
On the recommendation of the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi, the Zoo has been closed to visitors since 2nd May 2021 to avoid external contact.Based on experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that have experienced SARS-CoV2 positive last year, there is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans any
Therefore, the members of the media are requested to exercise caution and provide a responsible coverage for the same.The NZP authorities are in constant touch with the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi and CCMB-LaCONES to complete the follow up process.