Zoo keepers to be vaccinated | Sunday Observer

Zoo keepers to be vaccinated

27 June, 2021

The authorities of the National Zoological Gardens, Dehiwala, will vaccinate Zoo keepers for Covid-19, following the recent discovery of two lions being infected with the virus. This is the first time the Covid-19 virus was detected in animals in the country. An 11-year-old lion, Thor and its 12-year-old mate Sheena, tested positive for the deadly virus a week ago.

Rapid Antigen Tests and two PCRs were performed on the two animals after Thor showed signs of loss of appetite and breathing difficulties for days.

Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister C.B. Ratnayake said keepers who feed and clean the cages will be given vaccines shortly. It is believed that the lions had contracted the disease from infected humans. The Minister said the male lion, although aged, is on the path to recovery and that Sheena is under medical care.

The two lions are being fed with immunity boosting food supplements from India.

Minister Ratnayake thanked Indian officials for their guidance in caring for them. He said their first contact was India’s Central Zoo Authority because it had prior experience in treating Covid-infected Zoo animals.

Eight Asiatic lions at the Hyderabad zoo were infected with the deadly virus in May and recovered fully.

However, the media reported the death of two lions due to suspected Covid-19 complications in India, one as recent as June 17.