Samples of big cats test negative for Covid

 In a huge relief, the samples of the two deceased big cats which were sent for Covid-19 testing to Bhopal have turned out negative.

Published: 29th May 2021 07:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2021 07:08 AM   |  A+A-

A tiger at the Delhi zoo (Photo | EPS)

(Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a huge relief, the samples of the two deceased big cats which were sent for Covid-19 testing to Bhopal have turned out negative. Dr K M Dileep, director, Animal Husbandry Department, said the results arrived on Thursday.

The nasal and oropharyngeal swabs of the tiger and lion were sent for Covid-19 testing to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, from the State Institute of Animal Diseases (SIAD). The doctors there remarked that the death could be due to viral or bacterial infection. The geriatric element is also a cause, sources said.

The samples that were taken from the deceased lion in the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and from the deceased tiger from the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo were sent to the institute following suspicion as the preliminary analysis during the postmortem examination found some signs of respiratory illness. The tiger Kiran died on Monday at the Thiruvananthapuram zoo while Nagaraj, the 12-year-old lion, was found dead in its enclosure at the Lion Safari Park on Tuesday. 

The tiger hadn’t been keeping well for over a week and was on fluids. The autopsy of the tiger showed upper respiratory tract exudation, lung consolidation and enteritis while that of the lion showed some signs of respiratory illness.

While the scare of a possible Covid-19 infection among the big cats has died down, the incident has exposed the lack of a facility to test animals for Covid-19 in the state. Officials said the lack of such a facility forces them to send the samples to as far as Hyderabad or Bhopal. The long transit time could lead to the disintegration of the samples and fast transportation of samples is of utmost importance when it comes to Covid-19 testing.


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