Barcelona Zoo adapts its animal care during the hot months

A chimpanzee eating ice cream

Keepers adopt a series of measures during the summer months to ensure the health and welfare of the animals

Notable measures include replacing drinking water more often and adding ice-cream into the diet of some species 

As is custom, Barcelona Zoo has adopted a series of special measures for the summer months to mitigate the effects that high temperatures have on the animals in its care. This care complements the daily tasks carried out by keepers looking after the animals and is in line with how the Zoo constantly strives for animal health and welfare. 

Notably, Barcelona Zoo’s location and vegetation means that average temperatures there are three degrees lower than for the rest of the city. This means that Parc de la Ciutadella, where the Zoo is located, is part of Barcelona City Council’s Climate Shelter Network. The network was established in 2019 and is made up of spaces that provide cooler temperatures for the most vulnerable during heatwaves, while maintaining their usual uses and functions. 

Despite being cooler, when temperatures climb high at Barcelona Zoo a protocol is activated with a series of measures to ensure that certain species can cope with the heat better. 

Fresh water and specially made ice-creams 

When temperatures are at their hottest, keepers renew the animals’ drinking water more often to ensure it is fresh, adding more drinking facilities if necessary. Cleaning protocols are also stepped up and the bathing water that some species have in their enclosures is renewed more often. The same applies to the mud baths, which play an important role in regulating the body temperatures of animals like warthogs and elephants. 

Only in exceptional cases, such as for the pair of red pandas, are water sprinklers activated to freshen up the enclosures. This also happens with the areas for the elephants, the bison, the dwarf buffalo and the Père David’s deer. Hosepipes are used in these cases. 
When temperatures are high, animals are generally guaranteed free access to the puddles in their enclosures, the gates to their quarters left open at all times.

Food is also an important consideration for keepers at Barcelona Zoo during the hot months. Besides making sure the animals are properly hydrated, keepers prepare ice-creams which are adapted to the diet of each species. They consist of an ice base with added fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables, juice or broth. For instance, the bears and primates are offered frozen fruit and ice-creams made with broth or fruit juice, while the giraffes are offered blocks of ice with fruit, and the mongooses and meerkats crushed ice with worms in it.