India’s Jim Corbett National Park has built isolation wards for the animals as a preventive measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 among wildlife. Any animals with symptoms will be quarantined, according to the national park's authorities.
“Vigilance over the animals has been increased and all the cameras inside the park have been put on video mode to keep a check on them, as the camera installed will record the cold and cough symptoms and animals found with any symptoms shall be quarantined,” said R.K. Tiwari, Warden of the Jim Corbett National Park, India's oldest national park, located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
Around 10 quarantine centres are being prepared within the premises to contain suspected coronavirus-infected animals, according to the park warden. There are also discussions on converting the cages built for wildlife animals into quarantine centres, Tiwari told Sputnik.
Zoo Authority of India has issued an alert to other national parks and bird sanctuaries across the country and asked the officials to check for any symptoms among animals, and reduce human interaction with them.
“The staff arriving at the zoo should first sanitise themselves at the gate then after moving closer to the animals. Entry shall only be given after the food vehicle of the animals is sanitised. The meat and fodder should be sanitised separately. Isolation wards are to be built in zoos and workers (appointed) to keep special care of their cleanliness,” the orders from the zoo authority of India read.
According to Dr Dushyant, Wildlife Medical Officer at Jim Corbett, there is less risk of animals, especially tigers, getting infected in jungles but if the animals which live near the human population come into contact with an infected person or thing, then they might gets infected too.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has ordered that all workers coming in contact with tigers and elephants be tested for the novel coronavirus. The NTCA has also asked the parks to immediately inform about the animals falling ill.
According to the Indian Health Ministry, there are over 6,500 positive COVID-19 cases and more than 230 people have lost their lives throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no animal has reportedly been infected in the country so far.