GUWAHATI, Aug 22 - Veterinary officials of the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden have completed the first phase of vaccination of animals to protect them against the dreaded canine distemper virus. The vaccination drive was necessitated by the death of eight jackals due to the canine distemper disease in the Zoo in the past 14 days.
Zoo DFO Tejas Mariswamy said altogether 10 vaccines were administered to animals in the first phase.
�On Tuesday, two Asiatic lions, two hyenas and five tigers were vaccinated, and today one binturong was vaccinated. The second phase of vaccination will be done after 21 days and the third phase in 42 days from now,� a veterinary official informed The Assam Tribune.
�The vaccine, named recombinant canine distemper vaccine, is manufactured by the Merial Ltd. We have procured it from the Etawah Safari Park authorities. It is not available in India and has to be procured from the US. Etawah Safari Park officials will procure it for us for the next phase of vaccination,� Mariswamy said.
�Nine surviving jackals have been quarantined. Our veterinary officials have been monitoring them continuously. These jackals need no vaccination, but have to be isolated from other animals. Their condition is normal. Veterinary experts from the Veterinary College here have also provided assistance to us. There is already a committee comprising veterinary experts and Zoo officials to tackle such critical situations,� the DFO added.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had visited the Zoo last evening to take stock of the arrangements for preventing the spread of the canine distemper virus.
It is the first outbreak of this disease in the State Zoo. The disease is common in dogs but is rarely detected in zoo animals. Veterinary officials at the State Zoo are currently clueless as to how the virus found its way into the Zoo.
�It is a challenge for us to trace the route of transmission (of the virus). However, we have to stress more on prevention now, rather than detecting how the virus got transmitted,� a veterinary official said.
During the past two weeks, a Himalayan vulture also died in the Zoo, although Zoo officials attributed it to old age.