Tue, July 06, 2010
China > Mainland > Scorching heat ravages China

Chinese zoos suffer in hot weather

2010-07-06 05:15:53 GMT2010-07-06 13:15:53 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- A red deer died at a zoo in Hunan's provincial capital Changsha due to a lack of water during the heat wave on Sunday afternoon.

"The red deer drinks a lot of water every day and also needs water sprayed inside its enclosure to stay cool," Changsha Ecological Zoo official Zheng Chuang was quoted as saying by Tuesday's China Daily.

"But the city's water demand has been too high because of the scorching weather, so there wasn't enough pressure to pipe water to the zoo."

The zoo is located at a higher altitude than the surrounding area in the southern suburb of the city, which places it at the end of the water system, Zhou explained.

"It has been around 40 C for days, creating so much water demand that units at the water system's far edges face shortages."

Zhou and his colleagues are transporting water in trucks from nearby locations.

The high temperatures, which the National Meteorological Center expects to continue through Wednesday, have been costly for zoos nationwide.

Beijing Zoo invested more than 1 million yuan this summer to help its zoo animals stay cool, zoo publicity officer Ye Mingxia told China Daily.

"Every day, the animals consume about 400 kg of ice cubes and more than 500 kg of fresh fruit and vegetables - twice the usual amount," Ye said.

"The reward for our keepers is that none of the animals have suffered from heat stroke."

Ye said the zoo's feeders had scientifically developed a special diet for animals, including a lot of juicy greens, such as watermelons and cucumbers. It has also added salt to animal's drinking water to replace essential trace elements.

As the temperature in Central China's Hubei Province has hovered around 35 C for days, Wuhan Zoo's staff took active measures to keep the animals cool.

"Giant pandas stay in airconditioned rooms with a water pool outside, while gorillas enjoy electric fans in their habitats and zebras stay in the shade of a net," a worker who refused to be named said.

Shanghai Wild Animal Park in suburban Nanhai district has installed air-conditioners for the 10 Expo pandas.

The park's two panda exhibition halls each have six air-conditioners, which keep the enclosures between 20 C and 25 C, staff member Su Feilong said.

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