Chennai: On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu's Mudumalai reserve in Chennai conducted COVID-19 tests on 28 elephants. This decision was taken after reports broke out of the virus surfacing in wild animals, causing death.
The tests were conducted on Tuesday, June 8, and the test samples were sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Uttar Pradesh. The results are expected to arrive in a few days.
This action was taken after a few lions were tested positive for COVID-19 at Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Tamil Nadu. Out of the covid positive lions, one of the lionesses died of the virus.
Following this, the State Forest Minister Thiru K. Ramachandran ordered for tests to be conducted on all the elephants of Chennai’s Mudumalai Tiger reserve to ensure proper safety of the animals, and to stop the virus from spreading further within wild animals.
The test was conducted on all elephants, ranging from the ages of 2 to 60. “In this special camp, trunk wash samples, as well as rectal swab samples, were collected from all 28 elephants [of the reserve] and sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Uttar Pradesh,” Dhyandhan, a Forest Ranger at Theppakkad Elephant Camp, told ANI. “The rests were conducted for all 28 elephants, ranging from 2 to 60 years, and the results are expected in a couple of days.”
Last month, two lionesses tested positive for the virus at Etawah Safari Park in Uttar Pradesh. On May 4, eight other Asiatic lions had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.
Further, reports of animals being infected with the COVID-19 virus have been reported from across the globe. Several animals in zoos and sanctuaries worldwide have tested positive for the virus, including big cats (lions, tigers, pumas, snow leopards) and non-human primates (gorillas) after showing symptoms of the illness.
Though unconfirmed, it is suspected that the animals contracted the virus after being exposed to an animal caretaker with COVID-19.