While the heat wave reached its peak this Monday, July 18, the zoo Zoodyssée in Villiers-en-Bois (Deux-Sèvres) is trying to refresh its residents. Ice, fans, mists: everything is good for keeping animals out of the heat.
Hot weather does not only affect people. They also hit our animal friends hard, especially those in captivity. At Zoodyssée, the zoo located south of Niort, the trainers ensure the well-being of their residents with various techniques that help them withstand the heat wave.
On the menu for European brown bears: fruit ice cream. Apples, bananas, melons, oranges … Enough to delight and refresh this protected species. “A way to lower their temperature while occupying them”explains Corentin Nivard, pet sitter. Before continuing: “They scratch against the ice cubes, roll over them, and then they have to wait for the ice cube to melt to eat.” In the huge ice cubes there are also vegetables, meat and cinnamon.
Although bears are rarely used to such strong heat, they are animals that adapt quite well. We see that the youngest continue to have a strong activity and make full use of the enclosure.Corentin Nivard, animal keeper at Zoodyssée
To each resident of the zoo has introduced an appropriate method by the users to cope with the heat wave. In the Norwegian reindeer enclosure, it is the fan. “This both lowers the temperature in the building and removes the flies that bother them”specifies Guillaume Romano, director of Zoodyssée.
A little further ahead, the moose can swim as they please in a brand new pool. “The advantage of this one meter pool is that they can completely immerse themselves”, demonstrates the instructor. Another solution to lower animal body temperature: misters. Since 2018, Zoodyssée has invested in infrastructures such as these, which are increasingly adapted to animals and heat.
But the zoo director assures him, “there is nothing to be afraid of, regardless of heat episodes and seasons”. Fortunately, animals adapt their behavior: “they know very well when to stand next to a rock or under a tree to modulate their inner temperature. “
In addition, the summer fur of certain animals, such as bison, “can withstand summer temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees without problems”according to Guillaume Romano. “It’s natural air conditioning. They have the weapons to overcome temperature variations.”
And to avoid heat stroke, the guards regularly check that the pools, the automatic drinking water and the correct water temperature are working properly.
We do regular rounds in the park and pay special attention to newborns and older animals, such as our 36-year-old female bear.Guillaume Romano, Director of Zoodyssey
The Zoodyssée Zoo also enjoys a privileged location in the heart of the Chizé Forest. Enough for the animals with less difficulty to endure the 36 degrees on this Monday, July 18, a temperature level that was never reached in the zoo.
These excessive temperatures also have economic consequences for the park. With each heat peak, the presence in the park halves.