Precautions taken to check spread of infectious diseases

The high incidence of diseases reported from the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo has prompted officials to appoint an additional veterinary doctor to provide expert care to the animals. Minister for Zoos P.K. Jayalakshmi confirmed the decision during her visit to the zoo on Saturday.

The Minister visited the zoo in the wake of reports of infectious diseases. A tiger was recently detected with a deadly disease called trypanosomiasis, spread through flies. The Minister also visited the zoo hospital.

Talking to mediapersons, she said the infections reported at the zoo were now under control and that all precautions had been taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

“There is already a doctor working on daily wages apart from the zoo vet but considering the present situation, an additional doctor from Thrissur Zoo would be appointed,” she said.

According to Zoo Director K. Udyavarman, the first stage of development activities as per the master plan of the zoo will begin at the end of this year. Plans are afoot to bring African Giraffe to the zoo. Taking into account the increasing number of animals in the zoo, plans to start a mini-zoo in the district is also under consideration, he said.

With the detection of trypanosomiasis, a deadly disease, plans for the exchange of animals with the Hyderabad Zoo have been put on hold.

The talks to exchange a set of animals with the Hyderabad Zoo officials were in its initial stages. However, with the detection of the disease, the prime priority has been to make sure that all the animals are disease-free.

The nine-year old tiger, Rahul, was found to be infected with trypanosomiasis, which is transmitted by flies. The animal had shown reluctance to consume food and on examination, the infection was confirmed. The early detection proved to help save the animal, said one of the zoo official.

The other animals in this category are also vulnerable to contract this disease since there is no vaccination against this disease. However, chemoprophylaxis, an alternative drug was administered to the animals. Since it is not a zoonotic disease, there would be no bar on the entry of visitors.

The exchange of animal gains importance as inbreeding can result in the offspring being affected by certain disabilities.

Recently a lion cub-Akash-was found paralysed inside the cage. The cub was born with disability and a few weeks ago both its hind legs weakened.

A study is being conducted to know the status of the animal. Exchange of animals is conducted across all the zoos in the country and studies are being done to analyse the possibility of such an exchange of animals, said Mr. Udyavarman.