28 elephants in India tested for COVID after rare lion’s death
Published: 07:18 PM, 9 June 2021
Elephants at a reserve in southern India have been tested for Covid-19 after a lion died of the virus; Photo: AFP
28 elephants have been tested for Covid-19 after the death of a rare Asiatic lion from the virus at a forest reserve in southern India, officials said today.
“After lions in Vandalur Zoo tested positive for Covid-19, we were asked to test the camp elephants as a precautionary measure,” a forest ranger at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the south of Tamil Nadu said on Wednesday.
It is learned that a nine-year-old lioness at a zoo in Chennai in Tamil Nadu state, passed away in early June, is the first animal to die by the coronavirus, local media reported.
Besides, ten lions including the nine-year-old lioness had tested positive for the virus – two of them were in critical condition, The New Indian Express reported last week.
According to local media, nasal and anal samples were taken from 28 elephants, including two calves, on Tuesday, and sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The animals’ handlers lifted their trunks to collect a sample from a nostril, according to a video shared by the reserve. They also inserted swabs into the elephants' rectums.
The results are expected to arrive in a week.
A ranger in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve said the elephants had no symptoms, it was just as a precaution. “There was no difficulty in taking the sample swabs themselves as these are all trained elephants,” he added.
About 21 tigers in a zoo in the eastern state of Jharkhand underwent COVID tests last week after a 10-year-old tiger with a fever died, the Press Trust of India reported.
Source: The Daily Star, Reuters