BHUBANESWAR: A tiger in New York zoo contracting COVID-19, the Nandankanan Zoological Park authorities on Monday stepped up measures to prevent spread of coronavirus in the animal park.
After getting a circular from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in this regard, Nandankanan Deputy Director Jayant Das said the zoo has stepped up vigil to ensure that no animal in the zoo contracts the virus. “Hand gloves, masks and sanitisers have been mandated for zookeepers, while CCTV surveillance enhanced to report about any abnormal behaviour of the wild animals,” he said.
Keeping in view the outbreak of the virus, the Zoo authorities have already restricted the number of zoo staff to minimum. “Only those dealing with zoo animals have been asked to come,” he said. The Nandankanan management has also initiated the process for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for zoo veterinarians and keepers.
“As a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York contracted the virus, we are focused about the health of cat species here,” he said. Apart from 14 lions and 25 tigers, the zoo has other wild animals of the cat family including leopard, fishing cat and common palm civet.
The CZA has asked all zoo authorities to carefully monitor carnivores especially among cat, ferret and primates and send samples of suspected cases every fortnight to animal health institute for COVID-19 test. The Zoo authorities have also been asked to follow the disinfection protocol. Apart from CZA, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has asked Odisha Chief Wildlife Warden to adopt required measures in sanctuaries and tiger reserves, and closely observe symptoms consistent with COVID-19 such as respiratory signs of nasal discharge and coughing through direct observation as well as through camera traps.
The State wildlife officials have also been advised to minimise human interference in wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves.