Two white tiger cubs die of Covid-19 infection after outbreak among keepers, Pakistan zoo says

2 months ago 7

TWO white tiger cubs have died of Covid-19 infection after an outbreak, Pakistan zoo officials say.

The 11-week-old cubs died in the Lahore Zoo four days after beginning treatment for what zoo staff believed was feline panleukopenia.

🦠 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Workers were tested for the virus after the cubs' deaths, with six returning positive results

4

Workers were tested for the virus after the cubs' deaths, with six returning positive resultsCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem told Reuters the zoo believed the cubs were the victims of the pandemic

4

Zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem told Reuters the zoo believed the cubs were the victims of the pandemicCredit: Getty Images - Getty

The disease, which targets cats’ immune systems, was common in Pakistan, ABC News reported.

But an autopsy found the cubs’ lungs were badly damaged, indicating they may have been suffering from coronavirus.

Pathologists concluded they had died from Covid-19.

Workers were tested for the virus after the deaths, with six returning positive results.

While no PCR test for coronavirus was conducted, zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem told Reuters the zoo believed the cubs were the victims of the pandemic.

"After their death, the zoo administration conducted tests of all officials, and six were tested positive, including one official who handled the cubs," Saleem said.

"It strengthens the findings of the autopsy. The cubs probably caught the virus from the person handling and feeding them."

Zoos in Pakistan frequently provoke the ire of animal rights activists - who claim hundreds of animals die from poor living conditions there.

Zufishan Anushay, founder of JFK (Justice for Kiki) Animal Rescue And Shelter, told Reuters that the “last two” white tiger cubs had died as a result of the negligence of management.

"White tigers are extremely rare and need a specific habitat and environment to live a healthy life.

"By caging them in unhygienic conditions with no medical arrangements, we will keep witnessing these incidents."

Saleem rejected allegations of neglect at the zoo.

Animal rights activists were welcome to visit and check the facility's safety and hygiene protocols themselves, she told Reuters. 

In December, two Himalayan brown bears were airlifted out of the Islamabad Zoo to a sanctuary in Jordan.

SNOW GO

Snow, freezing rain and 60mph winds to hit Britain on Valentine's Day

PARK LIFE

Brits can meet up with a friend for a coffee outside and have a picnic on March 8

Exclusive

OLÉ DAYS

Brits could be heading to Spain THIS summer after 'vaccine passport' plan revealed

Breaking

JAB BLAZE

Fire breaks out at Covid vaccination hub as people forced to run from building

SWANSEA SEX ATTACKER

Hunt for serial sex attacker after NINE assaults in five hours

CHEQUE IN

Couple with baby returning from Abu Dhabi slam 'extortionate' hotel quarantine

And just weeks before, an elephant Kaavan was moved from Pakistan to a sanctuary in Cambodia, the culmination of a years-long campaign that included US pop star Cher.

Officials have said four giraffes died in 2020 at the Peshawar Zoo.

Last year, two lions at Islamabad Zoo suffocated when workers lit fires in their cages.

Zoos in Pakistan frequently provoke the ire of animal rights activists

4

Zoos in Pakistan frequently provoke the ire of animal rights activistsCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Autopsies showed damage on the cubs' lungs

4

Autopsies showed damage on the cubs' lungsCredit: Getty Images - Getty
Read Entire Article