PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Record high temperatures and steaming humidity are tough on humans, but dealing with the heat takes on a different dimension when it comes to zoo animals.
“It does make it challenging, but we prepare for days like this,” said Dwayne Biggs, curator of aquatic life at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.
The zoo has been taking extra precautions to protect animals from the extreme weather, especially for Koda and Nuka, the two polar bears that take up residence at the Water’s Edge exhibit. Biggs says the animals are able to escape the weather both indoors and outdoors.
“They have choices — get in the nice cold water, and also have the choice to go inside to a nice cool area.”
In the meantime, the zoo’s elephants are being bathed on a daily basis to keep their cool, according to mammal curator Kenneth Kaemmerer. That includes taking mud baths, which reduce their skin’s exposure to the elements.
As for zoo visitors, attendance has been brisk despite the weather, with the annual Festival of Water underway. The zoo is offering free ice and water misting stations to patrons as a precaution.