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Gloucestershire Business News

Exotic animals chill out in the heat

Feathered and furry friends at local attractions found new ways to chill out on the hottest July day on record.

Birdland's famous king penguins stayed cool by chilling out on giant ice blocks.

Staff at the Bourton-on-the-Water attraction were kept busy freezing buckets of water to recreate mini icebergs for the flightless birds. They also set up showers and sprinklers in the penguin enclosure and provided water sprays to cool down emus and parrots at the park.

Alistair Keen, head keeper, said: "While many of our exotic bird species love the heat, our penguins prefer things to be a little cooler. So we have been preparing freezing blocks of ice for them to hop onto as required.

"Their enclosure already includes a large pool and there is also plenty of shade available, but we thought it would be a nice treat for the birds and also provide them with some environmental enrichment.

"We've also been putting some of the blocks into the water, as well as leaving them on land for the birds to investigate and cool their feet on."

Just over the border in Oxfordshire, staff at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford have been keeping the animals cool with delicious ice enrichments, handmade by keepers, and slices of ice-cold refreshing watermelon.

Chris Kibbey, section head of primates and small mammals at Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: "It's hot, hot, hot here in the Cotswolds, and keepers have to be prepared to keep themselves and the animals under their care cool.

"As always, we ensure all animals have access to adequate shade and plenty of water, but with the predicted record temperatures forecast, it also allows us to be a little inventive with our enrichment.

"The lemurs enjoyed slices of cooling watermelon and frozen fruit lollies (made with natural ingredients of course), hung in the aptly named Monkey Puzzle Tree.

"The meerkats also enjoyed some watermelon, with alpha male Marley dominating most of it. Gomez and Lollie the tapirs enjoyed a frozen pear and melon treat, and even the binturong had some refreshing melon.

"The keepers are currently decimating the stocks of ice cream and orange lollies from the gift shop!".

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