Chennai, June 8: The Tamil Nadu forest department has collected the samples of 28 captive elephants at the Theppakadu elephant camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Nilgiri district for Covid testing.

The department said in a statement on Tuesday that the state's Forest Minister K. Ramachandran had ordered testing the samples of the captive elephants at the Theppakadu camp for potential Covid virus.

The move came after eight Asiatic Lions had tested positive for Covid at the Vandallor Zoo in Chennai. Rectal samples of the elephants along with ‘trunk wash' samples were collected by assistant veterinary surgeon Rajesh Kumar at the Theppakdu camp on Tuesday, which were then sent for analysis to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute located at Izatnagar in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Kumar told IANS said that the elephants in the camp are healthy and properly taken care of. Tamil Nadu reports 18,023 new COVID19 cases, 31,045 recoveries and 409 deaths.

Meanwhile, 52 people employed for taking care of the elephants have been vaccinated on a priority basis. Kumar said, "The feeding time of the elephants has now been staggered, and the caregivers are allowed inside only after temperature check."

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 08, 2021 11:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website