Tiger coronavirus alert comes two days after mysterious death at Pench Tiger Reserve

BHOPAL: A day after TOI broke the news of the mysterious death of an adult tiger, with devastated lungs and fatal respiratory distress, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) issued on Monday alerts the chief wildlife guard of Madhya Pradesh and all other states about reports of Covid-19 infection in captive tigers in the United States.

The 10-year-old tiger died on the morning of April 4. T21 had been found unanswered in a body of water at Pench Reserve, and medication was injected through a dart. But he died the next morning. An autopsy threw a ball of hair the size of a soccer ball into his stomach, and his lungs were severely damaged, but there was no immediate indication of the cause of death.

Experts don't think Covid-19 is a risk in the wild

Their viscera samples were preserved, but could not be sent for testing due to the blockage. On Monday, special arrangements were made to send the samples to a laboratory.

We will discuss with veterinarians what steps should be taken. According to standard procedures, it had to be sent to the wildlife laboratory in Jabalpur for its histopathology report, which includes tests for viruses and venom, ”said Pench field director Vikram Singh Parihar.

Wildlife experts don't think Covid-19 is a risk in the wild. I don't think Covid-19 can infect our wild tigers. The case of the United States is that of a zoo tiger, which has less immunity than those of the wild. The Tiger Pench died of an infection and had a huge ball of fur inside it. We have to examine whose hair it was. I remember the death of a male tiger at Pench due to porcupine needles. A kilogram of needles were found in his stomach, ”said retired forest officer R P Soni, who has spent several years in Pench.

He advised zookeepers through MP to be cautious. They come into contact with meat and food suppliers, he noted.

Zoo authorities have alerted its staff. “We were careful from the beginning. Those who supply meat and food to the zoo can enter with full safety precautions. A separate slaughterhouse for the zoo has been created here, ”said Upendra Yadav, in charge of the Gwalior Zoo. Dr. Vaibhav C. Mathur, AIG-NTCA, and Dr. S. P. Yadav, CZA member secretary, issued separate warnings about the world's first positive case of coronavirus among tigers in the Bronx on April 5, 2020.

Due to the transmissible and zoonotic nature of the disease (covid-19), steps must be taken to prevent the disease among wild tigers in India, says Dr. Mathur's letter.