Shanghai zoos keep their animals cool and show off latest additions

Summeris here and that means keeping animals in Shanghai's zoos cool. A private pool for giant ant-eaters, haircuts for alpacas, and ice cubes and water sprays for elephants and birds. Meanwhile tapir cubs and a baby giraffeare wowing the crowds.

Two tapir cubs were among the new animals being shown to visitors yesterday at Shanghai Zoo.

And across the city, zoos have been cooling down their animals with ice cubes and water sprays as the summer vacation gets under way.

Officials at Shanghai Zoo said yesterday the male cub, named “Flower,” was born in late May.

He weighed 8 kilograms at birth and is now 30kg. Both his parents are South American tapirs and Flower is still breastfed with a little apple, carrot and tree leaf.

He was shy when he first stepped outside, and was pushed along from his mother by his nose, said Pan Xiuwen, a zoo worker.“But now, he has got used to the outside world and is the first to run outside every day,” said Pan. “He is active, loves bathing in sunshine and is able to follow the steps of his mother,” she added.

The tapir is the largest surviving native terrestrial wild mammal in South America. Another new animal for the zoo’s visitors is “Bawu,” a male giraffe who was also born in May and can now eat leaves independently. His mother “Qiongba” maintains a careful watch on him.A pair of giant anteaters from Surinam in South America have also made the zoo their home.

They are fed with a mixture of banana, apple, egg, milk, yoghurt, kiwi fruit — and ants. Because giant anteaters love swimming in the wild, the zoo has installed a private pool for them.

As well as being cooled down, animals at the city’s zoos are beating the summer heat in various other ways. Alpacas have had haircuts, and elephants are being given showers by zoo keepers. Tigers, sun bears and leopards have ice cubes to lie on, and seasonal fruits such as watermelons and grapes have been added into the feed of gorillas, golden monkeys, and parrots.

At Shanghai Wildlife Park, alpacas also have the ice-cube and water-spray treatment, as do elephants and birds.The giant pandas “You You” and “Yue Ban,” meanwhile, have their own air-conditioned rooms at Shanghai Zoo.

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