BENGALURU: After eight Asiatic lions at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad tested positive for coronavirus, officials of the Zoo Authority of Karnataka have appealed to deputy commissioners of all districts in the state to get all zoo staffers vaccinated, irrespective of their age.
“It is very alarming. All Central Zoo Authority guidelines are being followed. At present, there is a lockdown in the state … so no one is visiting the zoos. We are now asking the district administration heads across the state to vaccinate all staffers above the age of 18,” B P Ravi, Director, Zoo Authority of Karnataka, told The New Indian Express.He said that a request has also been made to the government in this regard.
A discussion with heads of zoos in other states is also being held to understand the cause of the infection and know what best measures they are taking.R Gokul, in-charge Executive Director, Bannerghatta Biological Park, said, “We are not sure if there is any vaccine for animals … It is important for the staffers to be safe and get vaccinated as they are in touch with people at safaris, zoos and other places. The animals are, however, caged at a safe distance from zoo keepers and visitors. We are also not sure how the virus works in an open atmosphere as it is now found to be air borne. It is now important to ascertain how the lions got the virus and ensure that all care is taken here.”
Staffers in Mysuru zoo said disinfectants are being sprayed across the premises.Meanwhile, officials are now contemplating if the zoos should be opened only after the staffers are fully vaccinated and precautions are in place to ensure the safety of animals.