Lioness dies of COVID-19 in an Indian zoo where eight others have tested positive

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Lioness dies from COVID-19 after nine of the giant cats tested positive for coronavirus at an Indian zoo

  • Nine-year-old Asiatic lion died on Friday after showing symptoms on Thursday
  • Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai said nine of his lions tested positive
  • The animals have been quarantined and are being observed by an expert team
  • Second dead lion sample sent first to confirm was not false positive

A lion has died of Covid-19 in an Indian zoo, where eight others also tested positive for the virus.

The state-run zoo on the outskirts of the south Indian city of Chennai announced the death of the nine-year-old Asiatic lion on Friday.

“A 9-year-old lioness Neela succumbed to the disease on the evening of June 3,” said the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as Vandalur Zoo.

The outbreak was first observed on Thursday when the lioness “showed some runny nose.” The others appear to have been asymptomatic.

The affected animals have been quarantined and given antibiotics. They are being observed by the zoo’s veterinary team and an expert team from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

Several cases of coronavirus have been reported in animals, including two white tiger cubs believed to have died from the virus in Pakistan.

Lions have also tested positive in Spain and two other Indian cities, including Hyderabad, where eight lions tested positive in the Nehru Zoological Park last month.

A lion has died of Covid-19 in an Indian zoo, where eight others also tested positive for the virus.  Pictured: A lion in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

A lion has died of Covid-19 in an Indian zoo, where eight others also tested positive for the virus. Pictured: A lion in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

The affected animals have been quarantined and given antibiotics.  They are being observed by the zoo's veterinary team and an expert team from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.  Pictured: Lions in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

The affected animals have been quarantined and given antibiotics.  They are being observed by the zoo's veterinary team and an expert team from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.  Pictured: Lions in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

The affected animals have been quarantined and given antibiotics. They are being observed by the zoo’s veterinary team and an expert team from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Pictured: Lions in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

All animal caretakers and helpers for these stables have been vaccinated against COVID-19. A separate set of animal keepers is used for each group of lions. PPE kits are mandatory for the zookeepers, veterinarians and field workers who visit the area,” the zoo said.

“Samples of tigers and other large mammals are being sent for testing,” the zoo said in a statement.

Officials added that a sample from the zoo’s only pregnant lioness would not be sent for the time being, as her sedation could weaken her immunity.

A second sample of the deceased lion was also sent to rule out a false positive.

On Sunday, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, visited the zoo to assess the situation.

Expert teams explained the care of the lions and the measures taken to monitor them, local media said.

Nine lions at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as Vandalur Zoo, have tested positive for coronavirus

Nine lions at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as Vandalur Zoo, have tested positive for coronavirus

Nine lions at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as Vandalur Zoo, have tested positive for coronavirus

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