Feature: Aussie National Zoo and Aquarium helps animal cool down in sweltering summer

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-08 16:32:35|Editor: xuxin
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Photo taken on Jan. 7, 2019 shows an ostrich enjoying the shower in heat wave at the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra, capital of Australia. As heat wave sweeps Canberra, the Australian National Zoo and Aquarium finds many ways to help animals prevent from the heat. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)

CANBERRA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Tree kangaroos enjoy artificial mist, tigers lick their "ice cream," ostriches take a shower ... The Australian National Zoo and Aquarium pans out ways to help animals cool down when Canberra is baked by the scorching sun.

Heat wave swept Australia with temperatures soaring to 30 and 40 centigrade in the past two weeks.

In the zoo, the two tree kangaroos take shelter in the shade of trees and their "balcony." The boy was enjoying the artificial mist, while the girl was sitting on the spring.

"Tree kangaroos are from rain forests where there can be quite wet," said zoo keeper Brendan Sheean. "But in Canberra, it is quite dry. So we give tree kangaroos plenty of shade."

They also created artificial mist from several springs, so that the animal could have a choice. "When they feel hot, they can go somewhere nice and cool," Sheean said.

Another measure the zoo took is to give the tree kangaroos ice blocks. "We make ice blocks depending on the species of animals," said the zoo keeper.

"For tree kangaroos, their favorite food is avocado," Sheean said they added avocado into the ice blocks which are licked by the tree kangaroos in hot weather.

For the two tigers in the zoo, their "ice cream" is of different flavors. "We add meat and blood into the ice," zoo keeper Katie Ness told Xinhua.

The tigers, apparently enjoying the snack, lick it from time to time.

Ness has been working in the zoo for six years. She noted that although in the past years they had hot days in summer as well, but such high temperature in a long duration is not very usual, especially in some days when the temperature is still high even in the evening.

"We try to feed the animals earlier in the day when it is not too hot," she said. "Tigers like swimming in the pond. When they swim or have a rest in the pond, we won't disturb them."

The zoo keepers monitor the animals closely. Luckily none of the animals get ill in the hot weather. They give shower to ostriches, and provide water for the koala.

Sheean told Xinhua that the name "koala" is from an aboriginal word which means "no drink". "They get 90 percent of water from leaves," he said. "So we seldom see them drink."

The koala in the zoo is a six-year old one named Matilda. "Our biggest worry during hot weather is if she gets enough water," Sheean said. "Leaves can dry very fast in hot weather.

"So we try to keep them very wet, and provide water for her to drink."

Australia is in summer now and the hot weather is likely to continue.

Soaked by a shower, Canberra is cooler on Tuesday. But weather forecast shows that the temperature will climb up again at the weekend and exceed 30 centigrade again next week.

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