As Europe sizzles in the heat, with temperatures topping 104 degrees Fahrenheit, both humans and zoo animals find ways to stay cool.
In the Italian capital city of Rome, residents and tourists are in search of shade.
One English tourist, Catherine Labdon said she knew it was going to be hot but “I didn’t realize it was going to be quite this hot down here.” But “it’s not as bad up in the north because I’m right at the edge of the Alps,” she said.
Many tourists try to protect themselves from the sweltering heat by carry umbrellas, wearing hats or caps, or covering their heads with scarves. They line up to get water from a water dispenser.
Others, like Tom Bacci, welcomed the heat. “We saw the information on the news,” said Bacci.
“We are from Chicago and we are still experiencing almost winter-like conditions there. So we’re perfectly happy with this hot [weather]. It’s wonderful,” smiled the American tourist.
During the hottest periods of the day, volunteers handed out bottles of water.
Likewise, staff at Rome’s Bioparco Zoo helped animals stay cool with ice pops, frozen fruits, and vegetables, and plenty of water.
President of Bioparco di Roma Zoo Francesco Petretti said giving the animals frozen fruits is “a way to lower their temperature because eating these cold foods help them maintain a lower body temperature.”
Petretti stated that all animals can adapt to cope with a lot of heat and “one of these ways is ingesting substances that help them cool down.”
He also explained that giving the animals ice pops and frozen food is a way of stimulating them to do something because the animals “have to be entertained” and “they have to do activities that have them search for food.”
“It would be much easier, even for us, to feed them in a standard way with the same hours and always in the same place, said Petretti.
But for the animals, they would have “less encouragement to have fun looking for food,” and “by maintaining this activity, the animals will be engaged in activities in a more natural manner,” explained Petretti.
The heatwave reached a Level Three alert in Rome and many other cities in Italy, according to Italy’s Ministry of Health, making it a hot weather emergency not only for the elderly, sick, and children but for everyone.
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