Updated: January 19, 2022 10:10:44 am
A leopardess and a lion died in a cage at the zoo in Chennai due to health issues and the deaths occurred after veterinarians had taken samples from the animals to detect if they were infected by coronavirus, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The leopardess named Jaya and aged 18, died due to difficulty in breathing while the five-year-old lion Vishnu died of esophageal problems, a senior zoo official told PTI. Arignar Anna Zoological Park, popularly known as the Vandalur Zoo is located in the city’s southern suburb.
After nearly 70 staff of the zoo showed virus symptoms, they were quarantined and it was decided to draw samples from animals to ascertain if the infection had spread further. The deaths occurred on Monday after the veterinarians took samples from the animals.
“Though the staff has already been quarantined, we suspected that the animals too would have been infected. So, we decided to perform swab test on the animals,” the senior official said. The big cats were shifted to a special cage, known as ‘squeeze cage,’ to facilitate insertion of nasal swabs to collect samples. Autopsy revealed that the female leopard died due to breathing related issues while the lion had died because of esophageal problems. The lion had not been keeping well of late and its food intake had decreased, the official said.
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To a question on health issues faced by animals, the official said, “animals too face health issues similar to humans. A lioness Kavitha (23), which was suspected to have died of coronavirus in June last year, died of cancer”, the official said. Samples collected from about 16 animals in the zoo as a precaution have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal.
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