Elaborate health measures taken in zoos, elephant camps, govt. tells HC
Elephants to be observed for symptoms; keepers to maintain minimum contact
- The State government has told the High Court of Karnataka that the State Forest Department and the Karnataka Zoo Authority have initiated elaborate measures to protect the health of captive elephants and animals in zoos in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Additional biosecurity measures, including daily health screening of staff, had been introduced in the nine zoos and all elephant camps to ensure that there is no possible transfer of the virus from man to elephants and other animals.
- The instructions were issued to observe symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as respiratory signs of nasal discharge, coughing and laboured breathing through direct observation in elephants.
- In case of symptoms, the animals are to be isolated and samples to be collected and sent to the designated animal health institutes to initiate COVID-19 testing, while following all biocontainment and safety measures as per the national protocol.
- Those dealing with elephants, particularly mahouts and kavadis in camps, and having contact with animals in zoos are regularly screened.
- All vehicles carrying food material are required to pass through a trough filled with anti-microbial solution in zoos so that microbes attached to the tyres are removed.
- The Forest Department has also instructed conservators and deputy conservators of forests (CF/DCF) to check the availability of food supplies to the private, temple and mutt elephants in their jurisdiction.