With news that COVID-19 is spreading to lions at Hyderabad Zoo and causing a flutter, the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park (SVZP) authorities have started a vigil over the health of wildlife in its enclosures.
After approval by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the state government, the zoological park officially closed its doors to the public. Tuesdays are usually public holidays and the order comes into effect on Wednesday.
Although no cases have been reported at the zoo, the big cats are monitored for abnormalities in behavior and physical symptoms. “We did not find any symptoms in the animals and no test has yet been carried out, but our animals are on the alert,” said SVZP curator M. Hima Sailaja The Hindu. The zoo has fourteen lions, three Royal Bengal tigers, ten white tigers, two male jaguars, and four leopards.
Zoo authorities said they had decided not to take any chances and ruled out the possibility of visitors or keepers approaching the animals. “We have also written to officials to have our pet owners vaccinated and we are waiting for the schedule, which in turn depends on the arrival of the vaccine doses,” said Ms. Sailaja.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has already issued circulars to the authorities at various levels to monitor national parks, bird sanctuaries and tiger reserves.