An Asiatic male lion being treated for COVID-19 died on Wednesday, becoming the second carnivore to fall victim to the virus at the zoo near Chennai in two weeks, the first being a lioness.
The 12-year old lion, housed in the safari area of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at suburban Vandalur, died in the morning, a senior official said.
The animal was under intensive treatment for COVID-19 after it tested positive, the official said in a statement.
On June 3, the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal sent a report to the zoo stating that the lion’s sample tested positive for the virus.
This is the second tragedy that struck the zoo and it lost a nine-year-old lioness due to coronavirus on June 3 and in total, seven lions of the 14, were infected.
Authorities had said that three lions were responding to the treatment very slowly. However, all efforts were being made by zoo veterinarians and experts from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University for their speedy recovery.
Since the detection of the infection among animals, the zoo management has been involved in hectic efforts to prevent
its further spread.
The park introduced thermal scanning, UV irradiation of feed and complete vaccination of zoo employees against the virus.
Animal enclosures were also sanitised and staffers were mandated to wear the Personal Protective Equipment kit.
In view of the pandemic, the zoo, which earns its revenue from sale of entry tickets to visitors, has taken a complete hit. Expenditure including wages for casual labourers are met from ticket sales.