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TB outbreak: Minister inspects Thiruvananthapuram zoo

Chinchurani says preventive measures will be stepped up, animal keepers to undergo tests

January 23, 2023 09:54 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:10 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Minister for Zoos and Animal Husbandry J. Chinchurani visited the city zoo here on Monday afternoon to review the situation in the wake of the deaths of 53 spotted deer and blackbucks from tuberculosis (TV) over the past 10 months.

Preventive measures will be stepped up, though there is no cause for alarm regarding the spread of the disease to human beings. Visitors to the zoo need not be regulated, said the Minister.

Ms. Chinchurani, who walked around the zoo on foot, made enquiries about the condition of enclosures. She remarked on the presence of rats and algae in the enclosures and directed that cleanliness be maintained.

The Minister underscored the need for keepers who had come into contact with animals to take due precautions. Zoo authorities had said all staff had been provided with protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and boots. However, the animal keepers were not using those, the Minister observed.

She said that animal keepers would undergo tests. Steps would be taken to provide them medical treatment if needed.

A team from the State Institute for Animal Diseases (SIAD) would conduct an awareness class for animal keepers on Tuesday. They would also be provided training on how to handle animals properly.

The Minister observed that some enclosures were empty. Yet, there were quite a few species whose population was more than optimum. Some animals had been segregated too so that they did not breed. Animals whose numbers were more than what the zoo could accommodate should be given away in exchange for new animals. A three-member committee had been set up to look into animal exchange and submit recommendations.

She also directed that facilities such as the interpretation centre at the zoo be opened to visitors.

A report of the SIAD on further steps needed to control the spread of tuberculosis was expected within two days, said the Minister.

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