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Calgary Zoo preparing to keep animals cool amid upcoming heatwave

Temperatures in Calgary are expected to eclipse 30 degrees for much of the next week, but the Calgary Zoo says it will keep animals cool.

Colleen Baird, senior manager of animal care at the zoo, said many of the animals are used to warmer temperatures.

“Most of our hoofed animals have shed out so they are quite slimmed down with their coat, very little hair on them,” she said.

“That’s by design. They will start to grow that, to get ready for the winter.”

Baird said the animal care team is big and works alongside vets that check regularly on the animals.

 “If an animal is exhibiting unusual behaviour, more excessive panting than we would like to see we would take that case-by-case, and make a change,” said Baird.

“Whether that is (to) bring them inside to a cooler building, provide them with a sprinkler or do something different.”

Lions enjoy an afternoon nap at the Calgary Zoo, Aug.10, 2022

Baird added that the penguins cool off in a pool daily, but can also use the nearby sprinkler when they are out of the water.

For larger animals, it does take a while to cool off.

“We take a bucket, fill it with ice, put a couple pieces of fruit in there, and we freeze it,” said Baird.

“(We then) pull that out and put it in an exhibit. The bears will play with it, so they can rub on cold ice and pick away at the food that sort of melts throughout that.”

Baird says shelter and shade is key for many of the animals as they try to also beat the heat.

Penguins chilling at the Calgary Zoo, Aug. 10, 2022 Top Stories

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