Karnataka Government Informs High Court About The Steps Taken To Ensure Welfare Of Animals In Zoo

The State Government of Karnataka has submitted a letter to the High Court regarding the steps it has been taking to ensure the protection and welfare of animals in zoo.

Brief Facts

The State Government of Karnataka has sent a letter to the High Court about the measure it has been taking for the welfare of nearly 5,500 animals present across 9 zoos in the state[i]. The letter was sent to the Division Bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Hon’ble Justice Nagaratna; they were informed that all the public visits to the zoo were suspended since 15th March, 2020. The staff required for essential work like the veterinary, security and animal care workers were called. A strict social distancing is being maintained, the keepers must also minimum distance from the animals as much as possible. The bio security measures taken by the State Government are as follows:

  • The workers must enter through a medicated foot-dip so that the microbe will be removed.
  • Hand wash, sanitizer, and masks at every animal enclosure.
  • The Zoo premises will be sanitized regularly.
  • The vehicles carrying essential products shall pass through a trough with anti-microbe so that the microbe attached to the tyres will be removed.
  • The food provided to the animals will be inspected by the veterinary doctors present at the zoo.
  • The meat supplied to the zoo will be coming from a Government recognised slaughter house.
  • The food supplied shall be thoroughly washed before serving them to the animals.
  • Quarantine facilities have been allotted in the zoo.
  • The animal shall vaccinated and dewormed as per the protocols.
  • The workers will not be allowed to move to other stations.

Addition to these actions, the biometric entry has been stopped and a supervisor has been appointed to note down the entries into a register. Every worker is being checked with infrared thermometer, anyone suspected with notable COVID-19 symptoms is not allowed to enter the premises of the zoo. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka has sent measures for protection of elephants to all Chief Conservators of Forests and Deputy Conservators of Forest in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19 to captive elephants, are:

  • Immediate measure to avoid the spread of COVID-19 from humans to elephants with the use of disinfectants, hand wash, and masks.
  • The kitchen premises shall be sprayed with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution, materials bought outside shall be sprayed with 65% alcohol solution, and vegetables should be washed thoroughly.
  • The time when the elephants are being fed there should be at least 50 meters distance between every elephant.
  • Regular observation on every elephant, and if any elephant is suspected with the symptoms of COVID-19, the elephant shall be isolated and the samples shall be sent to animal health institutes.
  • Mahouts, Kavadis are the people who take care of the elephants. They shall be screened regularly and it shall be ensured that they are COVID negative.
  • Outsiders are strictly prohibited into the elephant camps.
  • The Deputy Conservator of Forest or the Conservator of Forest shall make sure that a veterinary is available at the facility.
  • Take other possible measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

Key Features

1. The State Government of Karnataka has sent a letter to the High Court about the measure it has been taking for the welfare of animals and elephants either under the custody of Government or private.

2. Nearly 5,500 animals are present across 9 zoos in the state.

3. The letter was sent to the Division Bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Hon’ble Justice Nagaratna.

4. Public visits to the zoo were suspended since 15th March, 2020.

5. Every possible measure shall be taken by the authorities to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

6. Essential vaccines and veterinary doctors shall be available at the zoo premises and also at the elephant camps.

7. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka has sent measures for protection of elephants to all Chief Conservators of Forests and Deputy Conservators of Forest in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19 to captive elephants.

Conclusion

The State Government of Karnataka is taking every possible measure for the welfare of the animals in the zoo and also captive elephants. The letter was sent to the High Court of Karnataka. The Court has asked the state to take help or assistance from local non-governmental organizations that can provide food or other supplies. And the court is of the opinion that there is no need to issue new set directions. 

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

End Notes

[i] Mustafa Plumber, Karnataka Govt. Informs HC About The Steps Taken To Ensure Welfare of Animals in Zoos [Read Submission] Live Law (2020), https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/karnataka-govt-informs-hc-about-the-steps-taken-to-ensure-welfare-of-animals-in-zoos-read-submission-155125 (last visited Apr 13, 2020).

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