Thora, the lion in the Dehiwala Zoological Garden who contracted Covid-19, will die if the treatment he is receiving for a thoracic infection is stopped. A group pf employees at the zoo have reportedly taken a decision to stop the treatment and put the lion back in the exhibit area for him to reunite with his family.

The decision to put him back with his family – a lioness and two cubs- is being taken on the basis that it will be good for his welfare.

‘He will die in a couple of days if this happens’, predicts a veterinary surgeon who is familiar with the lion’s current situation.  ‘There will be no need for welfare then’.

The lion, who is about 12 years old, developed the infection after he was treated with steroids for Covid which according to this veterinarian is routine. Later, it was found that the lion had a bacterial infection in his pleura after an ultrasound scan was done on him because it was noticed he had fluctuating neutrophil counts. His lungs were clear.

Thora, as he is fondly known to staff in the zoo, has to be treated with antibiotics for at least five days for the bacterial infection.  So far, he has taken the antibiotic for about two days and has been kept in a separate area to be treated.

A lion’s life expectancy is about 25 years. It is higher when they are in a zoo.


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