Big cats on watch as SV Zoo Park closes doors

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With news of COVID-19 spreading to lions at the Hyderabad zoo creating a flutter, authorities of Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park (SVZP) have began a vigil on the health of wild animals in its enclosures.

After securing clearance from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the State government, the zoological park officially closed its doors to the public. Tuesdays are generally holidays and the order comes into force technically from Wednesday.

Though no cases were reported at the zoo, the big cats are being watched for abnormalities in terms of behaviour and physical symptoms. “We have not found any symptoms in the animals and no test has been conducted so far, but our animals are on watch,” SVZP Curator M. Hima Sailaja told The Hindu. The zoo has fourteen lions, three Royal Bengal tigers, ten white tigers, two male jaguars and four leopards.

Zoo authorities said they decided to not take any risks and have eliminated the possibility of visitors or animal keepers going near the animals. “We have also written to officials to get our animal keepers vaccinated and we are waiting for the schedule, which in turn depends on the arrival of vaccine doses,” Ms. Sailaja said.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has already issued circulars to the authorities at various levels to monitor national parks, bird sanctuaries and tiger reserves.

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