SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FL. (FloridaToday.news) — Due to record temperatures in Miami, the Miami Zoo has taken extensive measures to help its diverse array of animals cope with the heat.
As the city faces unprecedented heatwaves, the zoo’s dedicated staff are working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of their tropical and subtropical inhabitants.
While most of the animals at the Miami Zoo have naturally adapted to the hot weather, recent temperature extremes have prompted keepers to provide additional enrichment by offering both stimulation and relief to the animals.
Among the efforts to keep the animals cool and hydrated, keepers ensure that pools are filled for drinking and bathing, and special cool showers and piles of ice are provided for the animals to chew and cool off.
An example of these special enrichment items is the creation of a colorful sloth popsicle. These massive candies, weighing over 50 pounds, were the result of a collaboration between Miami Zoo interns and the Health and Nutrition departments. Designed to encourage foraging, each popsicle consisted of six layers filled with bears’ favorite ingredients.
Layers included Pina Colada Kool-Aid with grapes, apple slices, blue blueberry food coloring, red raspberry and strawberry food coloring, mealworms, and orange food coloring with nectar and peaches. Constructed with a fire hose loop, the popsicle was hung on a chain from a tree in its natural habitat.
After receiving the popsicles, the sloth bears were clearly delighted and genuinely refreshed. They used their powerful claws to dig into frozen treats as melting ice dripped onto them, giving them an extra chilling sensation.
While providing adequate shade, shelter, and fresh water is critical in such extreme weather, the commitment of the Miami Zoo staff and interns goes beyond the basics. They aim to offer a variety of enrichment items throughout the year to ensure the overall welfare of the animals.
As the heat wave continues to grip Miami, the zoo remains unwavering in its commitment to creating the best possible conditions for its inhabitants, taking care of their physical and mental health even in the most difficult weather conditions.
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