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Blood Lollipops And Cool Showers Help Zoo Animals Cope In Heatwave

Erik Bowker / Sacramento Zoo

Erik Bowker / Sacramento Zoo

If you think it's hot outside, imagine how it is for furry animals at the Sacramento Zoo and their handlers.

"The heat is difficult and the drought is difficult," said the zoo's new director Kyle Burks on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "What we typically do is vary by species."

Burks says giraffes and other African animals are fine in the heat. Other species at the zoo have access to air conditioned areas.

Burks says another thing they do for carnivores is offer blood lollipops, or ice with animal blood in it. 

"It sounds kind of weird but it's a wonderful treat for them. With limited water, we're careful but we like to give the animals showers and cool them off and things like that. Those are always top of mind for us in weather like this."

Burks says, like the African animals, some other new additions to the zoo from Australia are also okay in the hot weather.

"This week we released a pretty amazing species into their new exhibit - nine yellow-footed rock wallabies in with our kangaroos," says Burks. "Imagine a kangaroo that lives in caves and rocks and jumps around and hides in crevices and peaks out."

Burks began his new job with the Sacramento Zoo two weeks ago. He's filling the position left by Mary Healy, the zoo's director of 15 years who died unexpectedly while on a trip to the Galapagos Islands last summer.

Burks was formerly chief operating officer of the Denver Zoo.

 zooanimalsheat wave

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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