Alert in Karnataka zoos to keep animals free of infection

Bengaluru, April 7 (IANS) Karnataka zoos are alert and have taken precautions to keep their inmates virus free, an official said on Tuesday.

“In the zoos, we have already taken precautions. We were not using masks but have strictly started using them now,” state Chief Wildlife Warden Sanjay Mohan told IANS.

Taking note of a tiger testing positive for Covid in New York, he said it is a matter of concern and action needs to be taken.

“We got advisories from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Central Zoo Authority,” Mohan said.

He said instructions have been passed down the ranks in Karnataka Forest Department to shield the wildlife from Covid, and they have particularly been told to look out for signs of breathing difficulties and coughing, particularly in tigers and leopards, and report them immediately.

He said such data can also be gleaned from camera traps and general observation.

Mohan said it is easier and quicker to implement precautions in a zoo than in the wide open wildlife sanctuaries and parks.

“In a zoo we can immediately take precautions, but for wildlife in the forest, precautions will be mostly by observation,” he said.

Mohan also ordered proper distance be maintained when animals are captured in man-animal conflict scenarios, generally involving leopards and sloth bears.

“People should not be allowed to mob around a captured animal or cough near it,” Mohan said highlighting that infection must not pass from humans to animals.

The Forest Department has, however, not received any protective equipment from the government to fortify its Covid precaution efforts.

–IANS

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