Zoo officials help animals beat the heat - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Zoo officials help animals beat the heat

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Zoo officials help animals beat the heat (WFSB) Zoo officials help animals beat the heat (WFSB)
BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -

The 300 animals at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are feeling the heat.

The staff said it is working diligently to keep them cool and comfortable.

“Two times a year that we have to worry about the animals’ real safety and health and welfare in temperatures is the middle of winter and the middle of summer,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director at the Beardsley Zoo.

With temperatures in the low to mid 90s, the staff at the zoo said they are continuously monitoring the animals, which naturally retreat to rest in the shade.

Dancho said the staff also helps keep them cool by watering down their enclosures and using sprinklers.

"We give them hoses, sprinkler systems just like kids in the backyard. A lot of our animals like to go through the sprinklers,” Dancho said.

With the exception of a handful of species, a majority of the 70 are from North and South America.

Dancho said they are used to a hot climate.

Zookeepers said the Amur Leopards are cold-weather animals.

What that means is they do very well in cold temperatures and can also adapt to extreme heat.

On Wednesday morning, the Amur Tigers, also cold weather animals, were treated to popsicles which are made from the juice of the meat they’re fed.

"They get to play with it. They get to eat it. They get to chomp on it. They get to cool down a little bit with it,” Dancho said, adding that, like people, animals can also experience heat exhaustion.

"Distress for us is panting very heavily. Distress is not moving, very lethargic if we're bringing food over to the animal and they don't want their food,” Dancho said.

Zoo officials said if it becomes too hot, many of the animals can go in their holding areas which are air conditioned.

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