NEW DELHI: While the world is busy battling coronavirus, the reports of a Malayan tiger being tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States has caught the attention of the Indian authorities.
India's oldest National Park Jim Corbett, situated in Uttarakhand's Paurhi Garhwal region, has built isolation wards for animals.
Speaking to IANS over the phone, R.K. Tiwari, Warden, Jim Corbett National Park, said, "At least 10 quarantine centres are being prepared within the premises to contain animals. We are also holding talks on converting the cages built for wild animals into a quarantine facility."
Taking further preventive measures, the authorities have intensified video surveillance of animals. "Any animal with symptoms will be quarantined, the cameras installed in the vicinity of the national park will record the cold and cough symptoms of animals," he said.
Jim Corbett's Wildlife Medical Officer, Dr Dushyant has however stated that there is less risk of animals, especially tigers, getting infected in forest areas.
"However, if the animals which live near the human population come into contact with an infected person or thing, then they might get infected too," he said.
In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to tigers through the humans, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recently issued a direction that all workers coming in contact with tigers and elephants should be tested for novel coronavirus.
The tiger Welfare body also asked the parks to immediately inform about the animals falling ill.
Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district, the mysterious death of 15 monkeys within two days recently led to panic in the village.
While the autopsy report of the simians is awaited from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly, veterinary doctors suspect that the monkeys of Pawansa village may have succumbed to pneumonia.
According to the IVRI sources, initial tests show that the dead monkeys had liver and kidney infection. They attributed this to consuming contaminated water. The water, probably, had insecticides used by farmers for agriculture.
A veterinarian, Prakash Neer, said the monkeys might have consumed some poisonous substance. He said the lungs of the dead monkeys were swollen and their body temperature showed they had high fever.
People, however, fear that the deaths could be linked to some virus, probably coronavirus.
This week there was a tiger death in US's Bronx zoo due to Covid-19.