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Animals keep cool with icy treats at Safari Park

Animals big and small at West Midland Safari Park have had their favourite foods prepared in ice blocks to help them keep cool in the blistering heat.

Lemurs and Lollies
Lemurs and Lollies

Keepers use a variety of vessels, such as buckets, tubing and silicone trays, to make sure the size of the lollies suit the animals they’re for.

The lollies include the animals favourite treats, such as fruit for the lemurs, insects for the meerkats and blood for the lions.

Rap Rhino Ice Block

Large animals such as the Indian rhinos had huge ice blocks, whereas the tiny meerkats receive small ice spheres – and by presenting food in different ways, the lollies also form a part of the animals’ enrichment.

Angela Potter, head of wildlife at the park near Bewdley, said: "Some of our exotic species really enjoy the sunshine, but when the temperatures soar, we do provide them with some extra enrichment to ensure that they feel more comfortable.

"Frozen, animal appropriate, ice lollies are very popular and many of our species, big and small, enjoy these treats.

Lion tucks into Ice Block

"The giraffe and rhinos enjoy frozen vegetables and browse twigs, whilst the lemur and lorikeet lollies are made with pieces of fruit.

"For the animals that eat meat and insects, we may add things like fish for the penguins, mealworms for the meerkats and even blood for the lions.

"We also ensure the mud wallows are kept topped up so that species such as the Pére David’s deer and barasingha can cool off when needed."

Lorikeets cool down with some ice lollies

She added: “We do have species that come from colder climates, such as the red pandas, so it is very important to ensure that they do not overheat.

"We do this by providing an air-conditioned unit within their house and cool mats under the straw in their nest boxes."

As well as creating ice lollies, keepers have other crafty ways of keeping the animals in their care cool such as creating wet spots of sand for the meerkats, hosing down the ostriches and offering sprinkler sessions for the penguins.

Penguins and ice cubes

Visitors to the Park are being urged to stay hydrated by bringing water bottles with them, which they can refill onsite, wear hats and wear plenty of high-factor sun cream.

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