BEARS at the Košice zoo received emergency doses of a special ice cream to cool them down during the recent heat wave across Slovakia. Four brown bears – Cyndy and Ťapík of the famous quintuplets recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, along with Ivan and Žabo – seemed to really enjoy the icy treat.
“We first tried this method last year, so we tried it again this year,” zoologist Patrik Pastorek told the TASR newswire. “It worked just fine.” The ice cream contained fruit, radishes, maize, and a piece of herring and was topped off with sweet syrup. “We wanted to give it a sweet taste as bears like sweet food,” Pastorek explained.
Pastorek said that the heavily-furred bears have a pond in their enclosure to splash around in but that in very hot weather they prefer to retreat into their concrete den which is usually cooler. Pastorek added that the Košice zoo protects all of its animals from the heat: seals, penguins, and water birds have their pools while llamas, emus and ostriches get “cold showers”. Ungulates such as camels and antelopes are able to retreat into the shade of trees. The animals are regularly fed water-rich fruit along with their regular diet.
“Each animal must have a secure place where it can enjoy the sun but also another place where it can hide from the sun,” the zoologist stated.
The Bojnice zoo also makes sure that its animals have access to bathing pools, receive ice cream, or have other methods to cool down in extremely hot weather. Animals generally seek shade when it is hot and birds often fan themselves with their wings. Two female elephants at the zoo, Maja and Gula, often attract visitors’ attention as they fan themselves with their enormous ears and cool their skin with sand which they take in with their trunks and then blow at one another.
Zoologists note that in the late afternoon about 80 percent of zoo animals hide in their shaded retreats so it is advisable for visitors to arrive at a zoo in the morning or early afternoon on hot days.
16. Jul 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská