Chennai | Jagran News Desk: A nine-year-old lioness died of COVID-19 on Thursday in Chennai’s Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur. The Lioness, named Neela, had tested positive for COVID-19 on May 27, along with eight other big cats after showing the symptoms such as occasional coughing and loss in appetite.

"The lioness housed at the safari area of the zoological park died on Thursday evening at 6.15 pm. The deceased lioness had been asymptomatic and showed some nasal discharge only the day before and had been symptomatically treated immediately," Arignar Anna Zoological Park said in a press statement on Friday.

The zoo authorities said that lioness was asymptomatic and showed some nasal discharge only the day before her death and was immediately given symptomatic treatment.

They had first noticed the lack of appetite and cough-like symptoms among the felines. Afterwards, the in-house team of veterinarians of the Zoo after also deputing a team of experts from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) sent the swab samples of 11 Lions to the National Institute of High-Security Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, one of the four designated institutes which test COVID-19 in captive animals.

Out of 11 Lion swab samples sent to Bhopal, 9 tested positive.

“In order to ascertain whether or not the reported findings are in the nature of false positives or the animal could have died of comorbidities, samples have also been sent on 4.6.2021 to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute Bareilly and the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad,” the Zoo stated.

This is not the first time that the animals, and that too lions, in particular, have tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier in May, eight lions in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park were tested positive for the COVID-19.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma