As heat indexes reach into the triple digits, the animal care staff at the Utica Zoo is taking extra precautions to make sure their animals are kept safe and comfortable. Many animals at the zoo are native to areas where high heat and humidity are common, but for the animals from cold-weather areas, there are greater precautions being taken.
All animals will receive extra water, with several exhibits featuring streams or moving water features, to help the animals stay properly hydrated. In addition, some animals, including Trans-Caspian Urials and North American Bald Eagles, have been given sprinklers inside their exhibits to cool off and beat the heat. Animals are also given a choice to remain in their exhibit space, or to retire to their indoor holding areas where fans or air conditioners are installed to keep the air temperature more comfortable. Animal care staff has also increased observations on all animals to keep an extra close eye on them and how they are handling the heat.
“While our animal care staff always keeps a close, watchful eye on all of our animals, on days with high heat or humidity, we like to be over prepared and give our animals everything they could possibly need to combat the heat,” said Marketing Coordinator Mark Simon. “Many of our animals love this weather, but we also have many animals who are not as well outfitted for the heat, so we make sure everyone has plenty of water, and shade or indoor access to cool off. We also brought out lots of fans and air conditioners for some animals. We go through this type of weather at least once every summer, so we are always prepared when it inevitably happens.”
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