India has ordered the temporary closure of all tiger reserves after a Covid-19 outbreak is detected in zoos across the country. In early June, a lioness infected with the virus died, reports CNN relayed by Slate.
This Monday, the National Tiger Conservation Authority therefore declared the closure of reserves and places dedicated to tigers. All tourist activity must cease. Tigers are indeed an endangered species. Today there are less than 4,000 on Earth. A large part of them live in nature reserves in India thanks to the country’s conservation efforts.
The death of a lioness
The last outbreak of coronavirus contamination was identified at the Arignar Anna animal park in Chennai (in the south-east of the country). In this zoo, several Asian lions, another critically endangered species, are showing symptoms. The felines have been placed in quarantine and are being treated with antibiotics.
Genetic sequencing should make it possible to determine which strain of Covid-19 has affected the animals. For Nikolaus Osterrieder, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Hong Kong interviewed by CNN, it is not surprising that “the transmission of the virus to animals occurs in particular in India, where the number of cases is high”.
“The more cases there are in humans, the more chance there is that the animals are infected,” said the expert. India is the second country in the world most affected by the coronavirus behind the United States, with 29 million cases listed.