In shocking news, Hyderabad zoo has reported Coronavirus in eight lions. This is the first of its kind case in India, wherein as many as eight Asiatic lions at the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) in Hyderabad have tested positive for the deadly virus. On April 29, TOI reported that Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) informed NZP officials that RT-PCR tests have come positive for these lions.

Dr. Siddhanand Kukrety, who is the curator and director of NZP, has neither confirmed nor denied the news. Instead he said, “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. The lions are doing well”.

Last year, lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York were found COVID-19 positive. Dr. Shirish Upadhye, Director of city’s Wildlife Research & Training Centre (WRTC) said that after Bronx Zoo, there haven’t been any such cases anywhere in wild animals. But the virus was found in dogs and cats in Hong Kong.

As per the zoo sources, wildlife workers in the park noticed symptoms in four male and four female lions. The symptoms were loss of appetite, nasal discharge and coughing. The wildlife veterinarians got worried so the management asked them to collect samples.

Oropharyngeal swab samples of these lions were collected by the vets and were sent for evaluation at CCMB in Hyderabad. Among the 12 lions (aged around 10 years), eight tested positive.

Soon after, the park was shut as it is situated in a populated area.

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