New Delhi: Alarmed by a tiger in the US testing positive for coronavirus, authorities in several zoos have initiated preventive measures to protect the big cats from the infection.
The Central Zoo Authority in Delhi on Monday asked all the zoos across the country to remain on high alert and collect samples fortnightly of suspected cases in the wake of the US incident.
CZA Member Secretary SP Yadav issued a letter to all states and union territories advising them to maintain the highest level of alertness, monitor animals on a 24X7 basis using CCTVs for any abnormal behaviour or symptoms.
Acting swiftly on the advisory, officials of Alipore zoo in Kolkata, Assam state zoo in Guwahati and the Biological Park in Itanagar have enhanced regular check-ups and strict implementation of the safety norms for the tigers.
A four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia has tested positive for COVID-19 at New York's Bronx Zoo. The tiger is believed to have contracted the virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time.
Alipore Zoo director Ashis Kumar Samanta said since mid-February several precautionary measures such as regular spray of antiviral medicine inside the big cats' enclosure and in the garden have been started.
"We have laid strict safety norms for all the caretakers, doctors and other staff of the zoo," Samanta told PTI.
Now it has been decided that tigers would be kept on a strict 24/7 observation so that in case of an adverse situation, steps can be taken as fast as possible, he said.
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