In perhaps the first such reported incident, eight Asiatic lions in the zoo here have tested positive for COVID-19 after their saliva samples were thoroughly examined by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, Rakesh Mishra, advisor of the premier research institute said on Tuesday.
“The saliva samples of the Asiatic lions were thoroughly tested and they turned out to be positive. As they were living closely it must have been spread among them,” Mishra told P T I.
“Now we are developing a method to test the samples of their faeces. This method would be useful in future as every time it is not possible to collect saliva samples from wild animals,” he added. He further said the virus which is present in the lions at the Nehru Zoological Park here is not any new variant.
“They have mild symptoms and they are eating well and they are fine,” he said. Replying to a query, he said there is every possibility of animals contracting the virus as they are also mammals like human beings. Mishra further said these animals must have got infected through zoo-keeping staff.