Keepers at Taronga Zoo have been preparing cold treats to help the animals cool down in the hot weather this week.
Taronga’s African Lion family were given iceblocks with a frozen milk substitute to help them cool down and the Oriental Small-clawed Otter group were given ice lollies filled with frozen fish placed in the river system of their Asian themed home.
Taronga Zoo’s Life Sciences Manager, Simon Duffy, said:”Keepers often give the animals additional ice themed enrichment items to keep them cool in extreme weather temperatures.”
“The frozen fish, fruit or favourite food item helps keep them nice and hydrated but also is something a little out of the ordinary and gets our animals thinking about the best way to eat it or forage for it.”
“Curiosity is important for any creature and we continually present different things to our animals like new food items, puzzles from which they have to retrieve their food or branches from other exhibits to arouse their senses. With the warmer weather now upon us we thought we’d add a summer spin to their activities,” said Simon.
“Some of our other animals prefer to take to the water when it gets warm,” said Simon.
“’Tiquie ‘our Brazilian Tapir loves nothing more than to get a hose down by her keepers. She literally turns her whole body into the spray of water and will lift her 250 kilogram body up on her hind legs to get her face completely wet.”
“Brazilian Tapirs are usually quite shy and elusive creatures, so it’s quite a sight to witness,” Simon said.
Taronga’s elderly Kodiak Bear, ‘Bethyl’ can also be seen escaping the heat by lounging in her specially built pool, whilst animals like koalas, Snow Leopards and many of the colourful bird species enjoy the sanctuary of their leafy exhibits where misting machines gently bring the temperature down.
Some of our closest relatives, the Western Lowland Gorilla family, who share 98% of the same genes as humans, smartly take themselves into their climate controlled room, where visitors can view them relaxing in the cool.
Many of the Zoo’s animals love the hot weather. Visitors to the Giraffe paddock will be able to see these animals bask in the warmer conditions, just as they would on the African plains whilst ‘Kambiri’ Taronga’s youngest hippo calf loves nothing more than swimming in the river system of her exhibit and then sunbaking in the superb Sydney weather.
“Kambiri definitely fits the criteria of a water baby, at the end of a long day her mother Petre often has a hassle getting the youngster to come out of the water.
With this week set to be a scorcher Taronga’s animals will receive cooling enrichment activities every day and as always, have access to shaded areas, extra water supplies and the constant care of their keepers to help beat the summer heat.