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Animals Have a Fab Time Eating Layered Lollies

As the warm weather reaches the dizzy heights of 30 degrees and looks likely to last for a little while longer, Zoo Keepers at Drusillas Park in Alfriston are continuing with their efforts to keep the animals cool during the hot spell.

Giant lollipops have been served up to many of the zoo’s exotic residents. The Sulawesi black crested macaques had a fab time eating layered lollies of beetroot, kiwi, orange, plum and yoghurt. Zoo Keeper, Jodie Dryden even froze wooden sticks into the colourful creations for alpha-male Moteck, who dislikes getting his hands cold.

For the red-handed tamarins and emperor tamarins a more fruity frost was provided containing blueberries, raspberries, apples and herbs. The giant lollies not only keep the animals cool they also form part of their daily enrichment programme, encouraging them to work a little harder for their food as they would in the wild.

At the penguin pool, Keeper Katherine Gibson has been adding giant blocks of ice to the water and hosing down the zoo’s Humboldt penguins with a watering can. In the wild, these penguins live off the west coast of South America in the icy Humboldt Current, where they take their name from. The penguins had a ‘splashing’ time chasing the blocks and pecking at the ice.

The animals at the zoo have welcomed the heat with mixed enthusiasm. The sun lounging lemurs are taking full advantage of the heat; much like our own beach-going nation ring-tailed lemurs love to sunbathe. They have wasted no time basking in the sun in a lotus-style position with their arms and legs extended.  

However, a species that is not faring quite so well is the Park’s two new red pandas. In the wild these mild mannered creatures inhabit the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal and much prefer a cooler climate. To make them a little more comfortable, the Keepers have created lots of additional shady spots for the two panting pandas as well as providing them with plenty of cold water.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are keeping a close eye on all our animals to make sure they are all right in the lovely warm weather and although our pandas prefer it cooler, they are coping well with the heat. We are also paying particular attention to our animals with pale skins, such as our llamas and pigs, who like our keepers need to wear plenty of suncream to stop their skin from burning.”

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