Two white tiger cubs aging 11-week-old that had died in a Lahore zoo last month have been reported of being COVID-19 positive.
The cubs died on Jan. 30 in Lahore zoo, four days after beginning treatment for what was remarked as feline panleukopenia virus, a disease that zoo officials said is common in Pakistan and targets cats’ immune system, reported British wire service.
But an autopsy found the cubs’ lungs were badly damaged and they were suffering from severe infection, with pathologists concluding they died from COVID-19. Although no PCR test for the new coronavirus was conducted, zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem said the zoo believes the cubs were the victims of the pandemic that has killed 12,256 people in Pakistan.
“After their death, the zoo administration conducted tests of all officials, and six were tested positive, including one official who handled the cubs,” Saleem said. “It strengthens the findings of the autopsy. The cubs probably caught the virus from the person handling and feeding them.”
Moreover country’s zoos regularly draw the ire of animal rights activists, who say hundreds of animals have died from poor living conditions there. “The last two white tiger cubs have died at Lahore zoo and once again the negligence of the management and authorities has come out,” Zufishan Anushay,
The founder of JFK (Justice for Kiki) Animal Rescue And Shelter, said. “White tigers are extremely rare and need a specific habitat and environment to live a healthy life. By caging them in unhygienic conditions with no medical arrangements, we will keep witnessing these incidents.” COVID-19 is a new virus, and the world is making policies for humans, she said. “It should not forget animals in pet shops, zoos and everywhere else.”
Kiran Saleem, rejecting the raised allegation of neglecting zoo has highlighted that animal right activists have always been welcomed.
It is pertinent to be stated here that in December two Himalayan brown bears were exported out of the Islamabad Zoo to a sanctuary in Jordan.