Gladys Porter Zoo helping animals battle the heat
Zookeepers at Brownsville’s Gladys Porter Zoo are doing all they can to keep animals cool as the temperature picks up.
Mammal curator Walter Dupree said there are different strategies that the zoo is using to try to keep them cool.
Among the animals beating the heat is the zoo’s latest addition, Ben the Andean Bear. His species is used to cool high elevations, and is cooling off at the zoo with a mix of pools, ice and an indoor AC.
Dupree said some animals have indoor AC and ventilation to walk into, and all of them have shade.
Zookeepers are looking for signs of heat illness such as how fast the animals are breathing, how active they are and how much water they're drinking.
Some even get an ice-cold treat.
Dupree said the zoo focuses on housing animals adapted to hotter temperatures, not those from colder places.
"We actually try to stay away from them too much,” Dupree stated. “At one point we had the polar bears. Even though they did well, this wasn't the climate for them, so we're actually trying to match the animals with the climate."
Animals like Ben the bear are using all that's available to stay cool.
"He goes into his pool all the time, which he loves,” Dupree said. “It's really fun watching him.”