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How Mesker Park Zoo Handles Excessive Heat

Mareea Thomas

Humans aren’t the only ones who need to beat the heat when temperatures soar. Mesker Park Zoo has ways to help its animals when the heat index climbs near 110.

Ramani is a Sarus crane, native to India. Her calls echo as she lounges out in the sun. But she's there alone. Her roommates, two camels, instead rest in the shade.

“There are some animals who can deal with it," says zookeeper Loretta Manning about the heat. "The giraffes and zebra seem to tolerate it just fine. "

But not all the outdoor animals are as fond of the high temperatures.

“The rhinos, we provide a large mud wallow that they love to be in all the time," Manning says. "The ostriches and the emus really love their sprinklers and their misters. They sit under them, and they fan out their wings."

The excessive heating isn’t just an issue for the animals. It can be a problem for the zoos themselves.

Manning says that as global temperatures are expected to rise, some zoos are turning to more indoor, immersive exhibits like Mesker Park’s Amazonia, where it’s a balmy 75 degrees year-round.

"A lot of our animals here in Amazonia are pretty spoiled," she says.

An excessive heat warning for the region continues through Sunday.