Wildlife park lions infected with Covid-19

Worrying case: Asiatic lions are seen during the ‘Night Safari’ exhibition at the Singapore Zoo, as other lions in the same exhibit were found to be infected with the coronavirus. — AFP

Four lions at the Night Safari have tested positive for Covid-19, said the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS).

The government agency said the four Asiatic lions at the Night Safari, as well as one African lion at the Singapore Zoo, had exhibited mild signs of sickness including coughing, sneezing and lethargy on Saturday and Monday respectively.

This was upon exposure to staff from Mandai Wildlife Group who later tested positive for Covid-19.

The AVS, which comes under the National Parks Board, tested samples from all four of the Asiatic lions, which came back positive.

Testing is ongoing for the African lion that had shown signs of sickness.

AVS has issued an order under the Animals and Birds Act to Mandai Wildlife Group to isolate all nine Asiatic lions and five African lions in their respective dens. This includes the five that have displayed symptoms.

AVS said it is working with Mandai Wildlife Group to closely monitor the health of the lions and will be testing samples from the remaining lions.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is currently no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the disease to humans, although there have been sporadic and isolated reports in other countries of animals testing positive after coming into close contact with humans infected with Covid-19. — The Straits Times/ANN

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