Hyderabad: The eight lions in the Nehru Zoological Park in the city that contracted Covid-19 and are on the path to recovery, have also been battling nematode infestation in their guts for quite some time, due to the extremely polluted water in the Mir Alam Tank abutting the zoo, that flows through the Lion Safari Park and other areas of the zoo before exiting the premises through a nala.
It may be recalled that the eight lions in the safari park in the zoo caught Covid-19 in April last week, becoming the first wild animals in India, albeit in captivity, to have contracted the disease and becoming the first such known cases in the country.
Though the lions in the safari park area of the zoo are provided with clean drinking water in saucer pits, often they also consume some of the water from Mir Alam Tank that flows through their enclosure. This has been resulting in them needing to be dewormed at regular intervals, something that could have contributed to their overall well-being.
Director of Zoos in Telangana, Dr Sidhanand Kukrety said, “We have been giving the lions deworming medication, just like people give to their pets.” The impact of the highly polluted Mir Alam Tank water that is strongly laced with sewage and other industrial wastes, is such that the lions in the safari park need to be dewormed at least one in two weeks.
“The frequency of deworming for lions in the safari park is higher than those in some other enclosures in the zoo for other animals,” he said.
It is not just the repeated deworming of the lions in the safari park that now plagues the zoo. After the last rains when Mir Alam Tank water overflowed into the zoo, a large pond near the safari area saw water hyacinth infestation too. The zoo officials are now working to remove the hyacinth to preserve the water quality of the pond.
Dr Kukrety said that zoo officials and staff are keeping constant watch on animals that might be exposed to the Mir Alam Tank water and are providing the required treatment to the animals as preventive measures to stop them from falling sick.