SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – With record-breaking temperatures scorching Miami, Zoo Miami has taken extensive measures to help its diverse array of animals beat the heat.
As the city faces an unprecedented heatwave, the dedicated zoo staff is working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of their animal inhabitants, who hail from tropical and sub-tropical climates.
While most of the animals at Zoo Miami are naturally acclimated to hot weather, the recent extreme temperatures have prompted keepers to provide additional enrichment, offering both stimulation and relief to the animals.
Among the efforts to keep the animals cool and hydrated, keepers are ensuring that pools are filled for drinking and bathing while providing special cool showers and piles of ice for the animals to chew on and cool off.
An example of these special enrichment items is the creation of colorful sloth bear popsicles. Weighing over 50 pounds, these massive popsicles were a collaborative effort between Zoo Miami interns and the Well-Being and Nutrition departments. Designed to encourage foraging behavior, each popsicle consisted of six layers, filled with the bears’ favorite ingredients.
The layers included Pina Colada Kool-Aid with grapes, apple slices, blue food coloring with blueberries, red food coloring with raspberries and strawberries, mealworms, and orange food coloring with nectar and peaches. Constructed using a fire hose loop, the popsicles were hung with a chain from a tree in the habitat.
Upon receiving the popsicles, the sloth bears were visibly delighted and genuinely refreshed. They used their powerful claws to dig into the frozen treats while the melting ice dripped over them, providing an added cooling sensation.
While providing adequate shade, shelter, and fresh water is crucial during such extreme weather, the commitment of Zoo Miami staff and interns goes beyond the basics. They strive to offer a variety of enrichment items throughout the year to ensure the animals’ overall well-being.
As the heatwave continues to grip Miami, the zoo remains steadfast in its dedication to providing the best possible environment for its animal residents, ensuring their physical and mental health are well taken care of, even in the most challenging weather conditions.
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