Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
28 TUSKERS AT T.N. RESERVE TESTED FOR COVID-19
Nearly 28 elephants of Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve were tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Samples from 26 adults and 2 calves from the Theppakadu camp have been sent to Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Izatnagar in Uttar Pradesh.
This has been done as a precautionary measure after nine lions tested positive for Covid-19, and one lioness succumbed to the virus in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park or Vandalur zoo outside Chennai on June 3.
Swabs were collected from the elephants’ trunk and rectum while they were made to lie down. Dr K Rajesh Kumar, forest veterinarian, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, said, “Most of the elephants cooperated . This is a screening process and none of them is suspected to have the virus.” He added that they didn’t have to sedate the elephants or that “would have caused a huge strain on the animal”.
Meanwhile, as a preventive measure, the feeding time of the elephants has been staggered. The men working for them are allowed entry only after their temperature is checked. As many as 52 mahouts and 27 kavadis (assistants to mahouts) are present in the camp and are being vaccinated on a priority basis. “12 out of the 52 mahouts have been vaccinated so far,” said KK Kaushal, field director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.
Tamil Nadu forest minister K Ramachnadran had also instructed forest officials to collect samples from all elephants in the Theppakadu camp as well as the Kozhikamuthy camp in Top Slip in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve.