The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on Monday asked all zoos across the country to monitor the health of kept animals as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 on Monday after a tiger in a US zoo tested positive for the virus.
In an order by CZA addressed to the Chief Wildlife Warden of all states and Union Territories, it has been stated that zoos should remain on high alert and collect samples in suspected cases.
“Zoos in the country are advised to remain on highest alertness, watch animals 24×7 using CCTVs for any abnormal behaviour/symptoms, keepers/handlersnot to be allowed in the vicinity without safety gear preferably, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), isolate and quarantine sick animals and have least contact while providing feed to animals,” stated CZA Member Secretary SP Yadav.
The CZA has also strictly instructed to monitor mammals like carnivores especially cats, ferrets and primates. Samples are to be collected and sent to the respected animal health institutes to initiate COVID-19 testing in suspected cases.
Further, the authority has asked all the zoos to adhere to safety and disinfection protocols issued by the central government on COVID-19.
Earlier, a tiger housed at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for coronavirus, making it the first known infection in an animal anywhere, according to US Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Anyone sick with the coronavirus is being advised to minimise contact with animals, including pets until more information is known about the virus, the USDA said.
This is the first time animals are officially included as a precautionary step to combat coronavirus in India.
(With ANI inputs)