CHENNAI: In the aftermath of Covid-19 outbreak in Vandalur Zoo that killed two young lions, Tamil Nadu government has constituted a State-level task force to provide support and guidance for field officers in prevention and mitigation of the infectious disease in wild and captive animals.
All the tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests will be kept under surveillance and random testing will be carried out.
The task force will be headed by environment secretary Supriya Sahu and will have six members including the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoD), Chief Wildlife Warden, Special Secretary (Forests), Director of Advanced Institute of Wildlife Conservation, former PCCF R Sundararaju, wildlife conservationist S Theodore Baskaran, said a press release on Friday.
The task force shall have a close watch on disease surveillance, mapping and monitoring system, vaccination and other important associated departments and publish periodic reports, the release added.
Meanwhile, the Vandalur Zoo on Friday has released the genome sequencing results of samples that were sent to ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal.
The analysis of four of the samples shows, "All the sequences belong to Pangolin lineage B.1.617.2 and are Delta variants as per WHO nomenclature.” ICAR-NIHSAD undertakes research on exotic and emerging pathogens of animals in the country and is one of the four approved institutes for testing of captive animal samples for SARS-CoV-2.
On May 11, the WHO classified B.1.617.2 lineage as a variant of concern (VOC), and said that it showed evidence of higher transmissibility and reduced neutralisation.