COVID-19: Ponds in Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve to be disinfected

Angul/Rourkela: Following an advisory by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in the wake of reports of a tiger infected with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, the forest authorities are planning to disinfect ponds near human habitats in Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district as part of precautionary measure to prevent transmission of deadly virus from humans to animals.

After a tiger tested positive for COVID-19 at Bronx Zoo in New York, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has put all the tiger reserves 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 animals from being infected with the virus. As human is the only medium for spreading the virus in animals, restrictions will be imposed on free movement of people in the wildlife sanctuary. As part of taking preventive measure, we have directed to disinfect ponds used by both humans and animals located near villages on premises of Satkosia Tiger Reserve,” informed Angul RCCF Pradeep Raj Karat.

As per decision, the authorities restricted villagers from accessing the ponds directly. They have been asked to use water after collecting it from ponds.

“We have made a plan to disinfect ponds with help of a chemical called potassium permanganate. The Tiger Reserve at Satkosia houses only two Royal Bengal tigers. While one has been kept inside an enclosure, another has been released into the wild. We have kept vigil on activities of both the tigers,” said Satkosia Tiger Reserve veterinarian Dr. Kishore Sahoo.

Adhering to guidelines issued by the NTCA, the forest officials have been asked to sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing while handling the tigers and other animals. All the animals in the forest will be monitored through CCTV. We will check the symptoms of tigers through the camera, he added.

Meanwhile, as per an advisory by Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) authorities have begun disinfection process at a zoo on premises of Indira Gandhi (IG) Park in Rourkela.

An official engaged at disinfection work at IG Park Zoo, Rourkela.

A team headed by senior veterinary officer Dr. Avijit Biswas has been assigned to disinfect entire zoo managed by the RSP. As per the order, the zoo officials have been engaged in spraying the chemicals at the zoo to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to the animals.

Besides, the activities and health conditions of animals at the zoo are being closely monitored by the zoo officials.

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