Chennai: A nine-year-old lioness Neela has died of COVID-19, and few other lions have tested positive for the virus at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur area of Tamil Nadu's Chennai.
"A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported in the Asiatic lions at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur on June 3. Few of the lion has been found symptomatic and one of them - a nine-year-old lioness Neela succumbed to the disease on the evening of June 3," read a press release from the Zoo issued on Friday.
"The zoo officials have immediately quarantined all the Asiatic lions and under the supervision of the senior vets of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary University treatments have been started," it said.
Moreover, on the request of the state government, a team of experts was also deputed by TANUVAS to help the veterinarians in the zoo to investigate the condition of the lions.
Swab samples of 11 lions were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Diseases (NIHSAD) Bhopal, and further samples of tiger and other large mammals are being sent for testing.
"As precautionary measures, the Tamil Nadu government had closed all the zoos for the visitors in the state since April 20," the statement said.
Earlier, on May 8, two lionesses have tested positive for COVID-19 at Etawah Safari Park in Uttar Pradesh and eight Asiatic lions housed in the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) Hyderabad have tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus on May 4.