Persistent high temperatures in southern China have kept zoo animals, especially those from polar areas, indoors with air conditioning.
Animals, especially those from polar regions, may have to rely on ice and air conditioning for a few more days as high temperatures could continue to affect southern areas of China.
On Tuesday, Liangliang, a giant panda, sat in a twinroom panda house at Hefei Wildlife Park awaiting breakfast.
The temperature had risen above 33C outside but remained at 24C indoors, thanks to two air conditioners installed in each of the rooms.
“The air conditioners keep working 24 hours a day,” said Jiang Lei, who bred the panda.
“For most of the day, the panda will stay indoors to enjoy the cool, and only very early in the morning will it take a stroll in the yard.”
Air conditioners are also being enjoyed by animals including red pandas, monkeys, Peruvian penguins, Siberian tigers and an Asian elephant.
Jiang Hao, deputy head of the zoo, which has more than 2,000 animals from about 120 species, said, “Some of the animals will also be given ice cubes and fruit, such as watermelon, which are delivered to them twice a day.”
Eastern and southern areas have been experiencing a heat wave since last week, with temperatures in Shanghai reaching 40 C during the weekend.
The Central Meteorological Observatory on Tuesday continued to issue an orange alert for the heat, the second-highest level in the national fourtier system. It said the heat would persist in eastern areas until Thursday.
Forecasters said the highest temperatures would be up to 41 C in some eastern areas, such as Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, and in Sichuan province and Chongqing in the southwest.
In Ji’nan, Shandong, keepers are striving to ensure the indoor temperature remains at -3Cfor penguins by keeping air conditioners running all day. Polar bears can enjoy colorful ice cubes made from various fruit juices, according to media reports.
Li Guofeng, manager at an ocean world, was quoted as saying: “It’s so hot and polar bears are reluctant to move. Colorful ice cubes can attract the bears to play with them and help them to do more exercise.”
However, Jiang from the Hefei Wildlife Park said the use of air conditioners had contributed to a 30 percent increase in daily electricity consumption, compared with other seasons.
Ice is used to keep animals cool in the summer heat, including penguins in Shandong province, a tiger in Anhui province and a panda in Hubei province. Zoo workers in different areas are helping the animals when high temperatures are recorded.