New guidelines for UP forest staff after corona scare

Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) The principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), UP, has issued new guidelines to ensure the well-being of forest staff after the report of a tiger testing positive for Corona virus in a New York zoo came in.

Based on the directives of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, forest officials will now have to wear masks and observe proper sanitization when they enter the tiger reserves and sanctuaries.
The foresters have also been asked to monitor health of carnivores, particularly the big cats, with the help of cameras.
If any animal displays symptoms of COVID-19, then it is to be treated as per the guidelines laid down for the purpose.
In case any carnivore is found dead in the forest, then its samples must be collected and sent for tests.
Foresters are also required to undergo health check-ups to ensure that they are free of the infection before interacting with villagers living around the forests.
The guidelines require that villagers avoid routes that go through the forests.
According to Deputy Director of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, (buffer), Anil Patel, “We have received guidelines which would be followed by tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and the zoos across the state. We had already restricted the movement of villagers in the forest area and now, patrolling will be intensified to curb human activity inside the forests. Except forest officials and support staff, with proper sanitization, no one will be allowed to enter the forest area.”
A committee of wildlife veterinarians along with range officers and forest guards will be formed to regularly monitor the condition of carnivores.”
Dr. Daksh Gangwar of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said, “We have been advised to gear up with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) while conducting autopsy, medical examination and rescue of wild animals as they may be carriers of the disease.”
At the Lucknow zoo, a quarantine ward for the animals has been set up.
Director Lucknow zoo, R.K. Singh, said that in case, any animal shows any symptoms of COVID-19, then it will be kept in quarantine and its samples will be sent for testing.
Even the vehicles used for transporting food will be regularly sanitized with sodium hypochlorite solution.
–IANS
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