Friday, July 22, 2011

Helping Our Animal Friends Beat the Heat

One of my favorite "ism's" is the one that says: be careful what you wish for. Somewhere around January 18th when the thermometer was coming perilously close to twenty below, I'll bet I wasn't the only Wisconsinite who was wishing for the heat of summer. Extreme temperatures such as the heat wave we are currently experiencing offer the challenge of keeping our animal residents safe during oppressive heat wave. Like zoos around the world, Wildwood is using a variety of methods to help beat the heat.

The Zookeepers at Wildwood Wildlife Park have been preparing cold treats to help the animals cool down in the hot weather. They offer the perfect cool treat that also provides an enrichment activity.

To help prevent heat illness the animals are given daily treats: the otters are given frozen fish lollies while the lemurs and coatimundi are given ice lollies made from frozen fruit and juice.  Other animals such as the capybara, otters, beavers, and tigers keep cool by swimming in their pools, streams offer other animals a chance to splash in the water. The water helps cool them off and the animals can be seen going in and out of the water quite a few times throughout the day.

All the animals have shady spots around their enclosures including shade cloth tops. The zoo incorporates fans, spray misters and sprinklers to help the animals keep cool in extreme weather conditions as well as providing a shady place to rest.

Many of the zoo animals are enjoying the heat wave including the lemurs who can be seen sitting up on their hind legs, with their arms splayed out. Our giant tortoise has been hanging out in the paddock, soaking up the sun and munching on the grass but the Zoo Keepers still have taken measures to keep them comfortable and keep a close watch on all the animals.