The animal was suspected to have been unwell for some six days, but staff first became alarmed on Friday when the tiger was spotted near a pond, unable to move and in a semi-conscious state.
“The animal came to the pond frequently for water possibly because it was running a high fever” PTR Field Director Vikram Singh Parihar told The Hindu. “We gave him antibiotics on Friday but that didn’t show much improvement. Finally, it died on Saturday morning.”
The vets administered drugs with the help of darts even while T-21 was in water. Antipyretics like paracetamol and pain killers were also given, Parihar told The Times of India.
The tiger’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed, however COVID-19—the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus—has been suspected due to its symptoms.
Samples have been collected and sent to a veterinary research college in Jabalpur and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Parihar said.
Parihar said those who handled the tiger’s body would be tested for the CCP virus.
The news of the tiger’s death comes as officials from India’s Central Zoo Authority and the NTCA published guidelines urging zoos in the country to be on the “highest alert” for animals displaying potential COVID-19 symptoms, following the positive diagnosis of the tiger in New York.
Bronx Zoo Tiger Tests PositiveThe Bronx Zoo tiger is believed to be the first infection of a zoo animal anywhere in the world and the first case of human-to-animal transmission in the United States.
The 4-year-old tiger and six other tigers and lions have developed symptoms. The tiger is believed to have been exposed to the virus by an asymptomatic zoo worker, zoo officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.
Nadia, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions all developed a dry cough, the group said. They are all expected to recover, authorities said.
It’s not clear if the other big cats contracted the virus, but the USDA suggested it was probable.
“The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27. All of these large cats are expected to recover,” according to the USDA. “There is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms.”
The agency said it and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are both monitoring the situation, saying that anyone who is sick should restrict their access to animals, including pets.
“Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus,” the USDA said.