An Asiatic male lion being treated for COVID-19 died on Wednesday, becoming the second carnivore to fall victim to the virus at the zoo near Chennai in two weeks, the first being a lioness. The 12-year old lion, housed in the safari area of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at suburban Vandalur, died in the morning, a senior official said.
According to a press release issued by the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, the lion died on June 16 around 10:15 am. The samples of the said lion had tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 as per the report of National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal communicated on 03.06.2021. The lion was under intensive treatment since then. This is the second tragedy that struck the zoo and it lost a nine-year-old lioness due to coronavirus on June 3 and in total, seven lions of the 14, were infected. Authorities had said that three lions were responding to the treatment very slowly. However, all efforts were being made by zoo veterinarians and experts from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University for their speedy recovery. According to a press release issued by Vandalur Zoo on May 26, five lions housed in the Safari Park Area of the zoo were reported to show loss of appetite and occasional coughing. At present, the zoo houses 10 more infected lions, being treated by an in-house veterinary team in coordination with an expert team from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Science (Tanuvas) University.