Ministry of Environment Issues Advisory Regarding Containing And Management Of COVID-19 In National Parks/Tiger Reserves

Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus after developing a dry cough, in what is believed to be the first known case of an animal infected with COVID-19 in the US, raising new questions about human-to-animal transmission of the deadly virus.

The tigress, along with six other big cats, is thought to have been infected by an asymptomatic zoo keeper, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement on Sunday

Alarmed by this incident, the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad has been put on high alert with zoo authorities intensifying precautionary measures.

At the same time, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on Monday advised all zoos in the country to remain on a high alert, to watch animals round the clock using CCTV cameras for any abnormal behaviour or symptoms and not to allow keepers in the vicinity without any safety gear, preferably protective equipment, to isolate and quarantine sick animals and to have least contact while providing feed to the animals.

In view of the spread of COVID 19 in the country and a recent news report on a Tiger being infected with the COVID 19, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued an advisory regarding containing and management of COVID-19 in National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves.

The advisory has asked Chief Wildlife Wardens of all States/UT’s to:

  • Take immediate preventive measures to stop the transmission and spread of the virus from humans to animals and vice versa, in National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves.
  • Reduce the human wildlife interface
  • Restrict the movement of people to National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves.
  • Constitute a Task Force/Rapid Action Force with Field Managers, Veterinary doctors, Frontline staff, to manage the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Create a ‘round the clock’ reporting mechanism with a Nodal Officer for swift management of any cases noticed.
  • Set up essential services for emergency treatment of animals and their safe release back to their natural habitats, as and when required.
  • Enhance disease surveillance, mapping and monitoring system through coordinated effort amongst various Departments.
  • Maintain all other stipulations issued by the Health Ministry in the movement of staff/tourists/villagers, etc. in and around National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves.
  • Take other possible steps to control the spread of the virus.
  • Report the action taken to this Ministry.
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