Currently the Nahargarh Biological Park is home to six lions, four Royal Bengal tigers, a white tiger and six leopards.(HT PHOTO/Rahul Raut)
Currently the Nahargarh Biological Park is home to six lions, four Royal Bengal tigers, a white tiger and six leopards.(HT PHOTO/Rahul Raut)

8 animals die in two zoos because of virus infection

In Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar, a tigress suspected to have died because of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, which has claimed lives of three elephants in the last one month.
By HT Correspondents | Jaipur/ Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON SEP 26, 2019 10:26 PM IST

Two separate viruses have killed eight animals—four each of big cats and elephants—in two zoos in Rajasthan and Odisha in the past one week.

A white tigress, fondly known as Sita, died at Rajasthan’s Nahargarh Biological Park on Thursday morning due to Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), third death because of CDV in the last one week.

In Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar, a tigress suspected to have died because of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, which has claimed lives of three elephants in the last one month.

“Whether the tigress (Subhranshu) was suffering from Herpes or any other disease will be clear after the diagnostic reports come in,” said deputy director of the zoo, Jayant Das.

Till September 20, four sub-adult elephants in the zoo have perished to the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus in span of a month. On September 19 night, a sub-adult female elephant “Gouri”, who was infected by the disease, had died while undergoing treatment at the zoo. Before her female elephant Kamala, 10-year-old male elephant Chandan and female elephant Julie had succumbed to the disease that causes internal haemorrhage, officials said.

First reported in a sub-adult Asian elephant in a circus in 1988, EEHV has a very high mortality rate. Member secretary of Central Zoo Aurhority, SP Yadav, who visited the zoo two days ago, said the Herpes deaths were a lesson for the entire country because nowhere in captivity, elephants have died because of the disease.

In Nahargarh, officials said lioness Suzzanne died from CDV last Thursday which was confirmed through the lab reports. Two days later, nine-and-half-month-old tiger cub, called Ridhi, died on Saturday morning due to cardiac arrest. She was born to tigress Rambha at the park.

A senior Rajasthan forest official on condition of anonymity said, “It is a serious concern, as earlier, this virus was seen affecting lions. But, now tigers have also got infected.” He said the vaccine manufactured in America was given to all three big cats days back but despite that Sita died.

Currently, the Nahargarh Biological Park is home to six lions, four Royal Bengal tigers, a white tiger (Raja) and six leopards.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has asked officials in both the zoological parks to sanitise the area where animals with virus were lying and follow the central protocol for control of various virus-related diseases among animals, CZA officials said.

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