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All 28 semi-wild elephants at MTR test Negative for COVID-19, says Official

The samples taken from all 28 semi-wild elephants at the Theppakadu Camp in Mudumalai Tiger reserve have tested negative, said a top forest officer. The samples were taken and sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, June 8th. The precautionary testing for captive elephants was done after nine of 11 lions tested positive at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, near Chennai. A nine-year-old lioness had also succumbed to the virus, marking the first such case in India.

Theppakadu elephant camp is among the oldest in the country and was established in 1927. The camp and the Mudumalai Tiger reserve are run by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. The captive elephants there were tested as a precaution, despite the pachyderms not showing any symptoms. It must be noted that five of the zoo lions which tested positive had displayed symptoms such as coughing and lack of appetite.

According to KK Kaushal, Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger reserve, all elephants at the Theppakadu elephant camp tested negative for Covid-19. “Nonetheless we will not let the guard down and will continue to assiduously and prudently follow all the necessary precautions and protocols to obviate infection,” he said.

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, located in the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu, but is close to the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Animals such as tiger, leopard, elephant, Indian Gaur (bison), sloth bear can be seen here. Owing to the ongoing lockdown in Tamil Nadu, all tourist destinations including Mudumalai are closed.

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