With wide areas of the US facing extreme heat this summer, zoos across the country are taking various steps to reduce its impact on their animals.
“The day when it’s 99 degrees, it makes our job challenging for these animals that are used to living in cold environments,” Pete Costello, assistant curator at Zoo New England’s Stone Zoo, told NPR.
The zoo is about 12 miles north of Boston, where record-breaking heat is scorching the city. Already on the second heat wave of summer, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared heat emergency Until Sunday earlier this week.
Stone Zoo is trying to stem the effects of these dangerous temperatures, especially for animals accustomed to cold weather, such as snow leopards.
“What we do with snow leopards in that situation is they have a holding building built to favor their performance, and that holding building is air-conditioned,” Costello said.
According to Costello, fans have been one of the easiest ways for the zoo’s reindeer to become accustomed to living close to the Arctic Circle.
Ice blocks and pools help keep animals cool
Tal has also helped some animals. Stone Zoo will refill the pool water for the animals each morning to make sure it is at least 10-15 degrees cooler than the water that has sat overnight. The zoo will also drop the animals down or mist them with water.
“We’ll just throw the tubs out and fill them with water, sometimes ice in it, for them all day,” he said.
Costello said ice is a quick way to cool down animals. The zoo’s jaguar Seymour enjoyed a snowflake filled with meat earlier this week.
“You can just take a little bit of his diet, which is usually just a little bit of meat, and you freeze it in a five-gallon bucket overnight, and then in the morning, you put it in your pool. ,” he said.
Stone Zoo also gives Seymour blocks of ice that are sprinkled with some of her favorite scents—pumpkin pie spice is her favorite right now.
“So, you can… just take a regular bag of ice cubes, dump them on the ground and then put pumpkin pie spice on it, and that’ll rub on that and help cool the stuff down,” he says. Told.
Animals also have shelters, which are located keeping the sun in view.
“The reindeer shelter is positioned in such a way that when the strong afternoon sun hits, that shelter is completely shaded,” Costello said.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC is also addressing the extreme heat on animals.
“Most animals that can go outside are given a choice year-round – to go outside or stay in their indoor exhibits. Most indoor exhibits are cooled by AC in the summer and heated by heat in the winter, ” according to a Statement From 25 July.
The Smithsonian also noted that its giant panda has air-conditioning and water-cooled grottoes, and spends most of its hot days inside because their thick fur makes the heat unbearable.
Ice cubes in the zoo are also filled with fruits to cool them down in summer.
“Many animals offer the fruit as a form of enrichment, which can be particularly refreshing at this time of year,” the Smithsonian said.
“Fruiticles are popsicles – they are usually frozen with chopped pieces of fresh fruit in diluted fruit juice. Gorillas, elephants and other bears also enjoy these treats,” the statement said. Stating that the animals get these treatments throughout the year.
The zoo also said that some animals can use its outdoor pool, such as Andean bears, pandas, lions, tigers and otters.