Angul/Rourkela: After news of a tiger getting infected by coronavirus in a United States zoo, India has already implemented preventive measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus from human beings to animals.
Odisha forest department officials are planning to disinfect ponds and water bodies near human habitats in Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district. The ponds are frequented by animals during all seasons.
Forest officials are taking the step following an advisory by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It should also be added that since the news of the US tiger became public, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has put all forest ranges with the animal on high alert.
“As a tiger has been found COVID-19 positive in the US, the NTCA has issued an SOP for safety of wild animals in forests. Accordingly, arrangements are being made to prevent the spread of the virus in animals. As human beings are the only medium for spreading the virus in animals, restrictions will be imposed on free movement of people in the wildlife sanctuary. We have informed authorities to disinfect ponds and other water bodies used by both humans and animals located near villages on premises of Satkosia Tiger Reserve,” informed Angul RCCF Pradeep Raj Karat.
“We will be disinfecting the ponds with potassium permanganate. The Tiger Reserve at Satkosia has two Royal Bengal tigers. While one has been kept inside an enclosure, the other has been released into the wild. We aee keeping a vigil on both tigers,” said Satkosia Tiger Reserve veterinarian Dr Kishore Sahoo.
As per guidelines issued by the NTCA, forest officials have been asked to sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing while interacting with tigers and other wild animals. All animals in the forest are being monitored through CCTV. “We will check the symptoms of tigers on a regular basis through cameras,” said an official.
Meanwhile, as per an advisory by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) officials have begun disinfection process at a zoo inside Indira Gandhi (IG) Park in Rourkela.
A team headed by senior veterinary officer Dr Avijit Biswas has been assigned to disinfect the entire zoo managed by the RSP. As per the order, zoo officials are spraying disinfectants of a regular basis within the zoo to transmission of coronavirus to the animals. The health conditions of animals in the zoo are being closely monitored by the officials.