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Cool Treats for Zoo Animals in Australia’s Summer Heat

Zoo keeper gives monkey Ice popsicles during Brazil heatwave.
Zoo keeper gives monkey Ice popsicles during Brazil heatwave. Credit: Associated Press YouTube

Beating the Heat with Icy Delights

Australian zoos have developed creative ways to keep their animals cool during the scorching summer months. From fish-filled ice blocks to ice baths, these methods provide relief from the heat and offer mental stimulation and enrichment for the animals.

Three meerkats seated upright.
Three meerkats seated upright. Credit: Charles J. Sharp – File:Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) Tswalu.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38329213

A Variety of Frozen Treats

Different animals enjoy different types of cool treats:

  1. Meerkats: At Adelaide Zoo, meerkats relish fish-filled ice blocks and ice blood pops.
  2. Giant Panda: Wang Wang, the giant panda, cools off with an ice bath scented with bubble gum and pine, containing panda cake and apples.
  3. Rhino Iguana: Ziggy, the rhino iguana, enjoys a relaxing cool bath.
Giant Panda
Giant Panda. By Gzen92 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81579500

Enrichment and Welfare

Senior Keeper of Pandas at Adelaide Zoo, Laura Trollope, emphasizes the importance of enrichment in keeping zoo animals cool and mentally stimulated. Ice baths and frozen treats help animals beat the heat and keep them engaged and happy. This approach to animal welfare is crucial for their overall well-being.

Tips for Pet Owners

The zoo’s efforts to keep animals cool can also be applied to pets at home. Freezing healthy treats in water creates a fun and refreshing snack for pets, helping them stay cool and mentally stimulated during hot weather.

Global Efforts in Zoo Animal Care

Zoos worldwide are adopting similar strategies to protect their animals from extreme heat. In the United States, zoos in regions like Texas and Illinois provide their animals with various cooling methods. For example, the Dallas Zoo uses pools, ice, and air conditioning to ensure the comfort of its animals. The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois treats its animals to patriotic-themed icy treats, while the Houston Zoo offers indoor air-conditioned spaces.

Zoo keeper gives monkey Ice popsicles during Brazil heatwave.
Zoo keeper gives monkey Ice popsicles during Brazil heatwave. Credit: Associated Press YouTube

Adapting to Rising Temperatures

As global temperatures rise, zoos are increasingly focused on finding innovative ways to keep their animals safe and comfortable. The use of cooling treats and environments is not only a response to immediate weather conditions but also a proactive approach to animal welfare in a changing climate.

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