Alipore zoo to enhance checks as tiger tests COVID positive in US

The move comes after a four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia was tested positive for COVID-19 at New York's Bronx Zoo.

The Alipore Zoo in Kolkata has decided to enhance regular checking of big cats and strict implementation of safety norms after a tiger tested positive for COVID-19 at a zoological garden in New York, an official said on Monday (April 6).

A four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia has tested positive for COVID-19 at New York’s Bronx Zoo, authorities said on Sunday. The tiger is believed to have contracted the virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time.

Since mid-February several precautionary measures such as regular spray of antiviral medicine inside the big cats enclosure and in the garden have been taken, Alipore Zoo director Ashis Kumar Samanta said.

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“The news of a tiger contracting COVID-19 is indeed a matter of concern. Since mid-February, we have been taking precautionary measures for big cats and other animals in our zoo. We had laid strict safety norms for all the caretakers, doctors and other staff of the zoo,” Samanta told PTI over the phone.

Now it has been decided that tigers would be kept on a strict and close 24/7 observation so that in case of any situation, steps can be taken as fast as possible, he said.

“Presently caretakers and doctors daily check the health condition of big cats and other animals. We have called an emergency meeting of all the staffs especially caregivers, caretakers, and doctors, so that all of them follow the safety norms of wearing masks, gloves, and sanitizers while treating the animals,” he said.

Established in 1876, the Zoological Garden, Alipore also known as Alipore Zoo is Indias oldest zoological park. It presently houses eight tigers, four lions including two cubs, three leopards, and two jaguars, among other wild animals.

The 1,270 odd animals such as tigers, lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, reptiles, and birds are being taken good care of by only a handful employee mainly those who feed them, zoo officials said. The Alipore Zoological Garden had barred entry of visitors on March 17 to avoid large gatherings.

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