Elephants at Theppakadu camp tested for COVID-19

The move comes after one lioness died and nine others tested positive for the infection at Chennai’s Vandalur zoo

Samples were collected from 28 of the captive elephants at the Theppakadu elephant camp in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) to test for potential COVID-19 infections.

The testing is being conducted after nine Asiatic lions at the Vandalur Zoo in Chennai tested positive for COVID-19, while one lioness died.

In a statement, the forest department said that Forest Minister K. Ramachandran ordered samples to be collected from all 28 elephants at the camp and send them to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Inzatnagar, Uttar Pradesh for analysis.

On Tuesday, nasal and rectal fluid samples were collected from all the elephants by veterinarians and sent for analysis.

Speaking to The Hindu, K.K. Kaushal, Field Director of MTR, said that all the elephants at the camp were healthy and showing no signs of suffering from any illness. He added that 52 elephant men and kaavadis caring for the elephants are being vaccinated on a priority basis.

“Besides, the feeding time of the elephants has been staggered and the elephant-men are allowed to enter only after their temperature is checked,” he said.

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