Lioness at Dehiwala Zoo tests COVID-19 positive
By Thameenah Razeek
A lioness at the Dehiwala Zoo tested positive to COVID-19, raising the total number of infected animals to two. Sheena, a 12-year-old lioness, was living with Thor, the lion which tested positive to COVID-19 a week ago.
When queried, a top official at the State Ministry of Wildlife Protection said the lioness is asymptomatic. They are seeking assistance from India as well as other professionals to treat the animals, he added.
Sheena’s tests, according to sources, were done at the Ragama Medical Faculty’s human laboratory to see if she had truly contracted the virus. The Wildlife Department had previously followed the correct procedure and sent the samples to the Peradeniya University's Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, which functions as an animal laboratory. According to the sources, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Government will not send samples to Peradeniya University in the future.
No valid reason was given though, raising doubts. The official also said that they changed their method of interpreting data this time after learning that the persons who analysed the samples were sharing information with the public.
He commented, “We don’t need someone who keeps the public up to date on everything we do.” The Sri Lanka Veterinary Association expressed their displeasure, claiming that human laboratories can produce incorrect and flawed information, as they utilise equipment designed to evaluate humans rather than animals.