Keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens have been preparing cold treats to help the animals cool down in the hot weather this week.
The six macaque monkeys have been given ice lollies made from carrots frozen in cranberry juice to help them cool off. Keepers often give the animals additional enrichment treats to help them manage in extreme weather conditions.
To see a video of the macaques enjoying their treats, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRuWLwyCjcA
Lynsey Bugg, assistant curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “Giving fruit and vegetables frozen in water or fruit juice to our animals is a great way of helping them to keep cool in this hot weather. It is also an interesting treat for them and provides the perfect enrichment activity toy.”
Many of the Zoo’s animals are enjoying the heat wave. Visitors to Gorilla Island can often see silverback gorilla, Jock, snoozing in the sun, while the nearby lemurs like to sunbathe sitting up on their hind legs, with their arms splayed out. The Zoo’s giant tortoises can be seen relaxing in their paddock, munching on the grass.
Other animals, such as the tapirs, capybaras, hippos and otters, keep cool by swimming in their pools, while the gorillas have a stream to splash about in. All the animals have shady spots around their enclosures, with access indoors if they want to get out of the sun.
As well as enjoying the sunshine, keepers at Bristol Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a host of baby animals this summer.
The new babies include four baby meerkats, a ring-tailed lemur, a golden lion tamarin and various birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Spring and summer are popular times of year for animal births at the Zoo and the warmer weather means youngsters can often be spotted exploring their new surroundings.
At less than three weeks old, the Zoo’s tiny young meerkats weighed around just 30g at birth and still have their eyes closed. They are being looked after around the clock by the rest of the meerkat group – which includes seven other youngsters born earlier this year.
Over the coming weeks the new-borns will start learning how to play, forage and dig in the sand for grubs.
In the Zoo’s lemur garden walk-through exhibit, a baby ring-tailed lemur is already proving very popular. At less than three weeks old, the new-born stays close to mum Roxy at all times by clinging tightly to the fur on her chest or just this week her back.
Keepers do not yet know the sex of the baby so the new addition has not yet been named. Similarly, the baby golden lion tamarin – a species of tiny, ginger monkey – born in Zona Brazil recently is still too small for keepers to identify whether it is a boy or a girl.
There has also been plenty of breeding success in the Reptile House, including several eye-catching, bright blue poison arrow dart frogs and yellow banded dart frogs as well as two baby pancake tortoises.
The bird keepers at Bristol Zoo are also being kept busy by the recent hatching of eight flamingo chicks, 45 lovebirds, one Mindanao bleeding heart dove, four rainbow lorikeets, an azure-winged magpie, two Critically Endangered Bali starlings, three keas and three little egrets.
The Director of Bristol Zoo, Dr Bryan Carroll, is delighted with all the new arrivals. “It’s great to have had so many youngsters born at the Zoo this summer,” he said. “They are all doing very well and are being well looked after by their parents as well as under the watchful eye of our experienced team of animal keepers. It is a pleasure to see the families breeding successfully and it won’t be long before the babies become more independent and start to play and explore their enclosures by themselves.”
Last month a baby pudu, the world's smallest species of deer, was born at Bristol Zoo. The baby, a boy, is still very tiny and weighed around just 1kg at birth. The tiny youngster is part of an international conservation breeding programme. As with all pudu fawns, he has distinctive white spotted markings on his back which help camouflage him.
To see a short clip of the baby pudu visit, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QRMog9EU4s&feature=youtu.be
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
For more information about visiting Bristol Zoo Gardens, visit the website at www.bristolzoo.org.uk or phone 0117 974 7300.
Notes to editors
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on income from visitors and supporters to continue its important work.
Bristol Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species.
Itemploys over 150 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work.
Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - 15 projects in the UK and abroad that conserveand protectsome of the world’s most endangered species.
In 2011 Bristol Zoo celebrated its 175th birthday. Over that past 175 years, the Zoo has brought six generations of Bristolians closer to wildlife, helped save over 175 species from extinction, established over 30 field conservation and research programmes all over the world, showed 40 million school-aged children the wonder of nature and given more than 90 million visitors a wonderful day out.
In 2010 Bristol Zoo Gardens set up a Conservation Fund to raise vital funds to help care for threatened animals and plants – both in the Zoo and through the conservation work we do in the UK and around the world.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. BIAZA represents more than 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.