With a hint of summer in the air, Perth Zoo’s animals kept their cool today thanks to the efforts of their dedicated Zoo Keepers.

The Capuchin Monkeys woke to a breakfast of specially created ice blocks. The frozen food items helps keep them nice and hydrated but is also something a little out of the ordinary and gets the animals thinking about the best way to devour it.

Primate Supervisor, Holly Thompson said: “Curiosity is important for any creature. As part of our enrichment program we constantly provide different opportunities for the animals such as food puzzles, introducing different scents or faeces and branches from other exhibits to arouse their interest. With a burst of warm weather, we just added a summer spin to it.”

The heavy weights of the Zoo, female Asian Elephants, ‘Tricia’ and ‘Permai’ started the day with a dip in their pool. The water not only assists them in cooling down, but provides a fantastic weightless environment that they can exercise in. This is particularly beneficial for Tricia, Perth Zoo’s 58 year old matriarch as it can assist with any age-related aches.

Senior Elephant Keeper, Steve Edmunds, said: “The girls love their swims. We usually throw toys or food into the pool and there’s nothing like watching a 3700 kilogram elephant duck dive to retrieve a treat at the bottom of the pool. It’s the elephant equivalent of aqua aerobics.”

In the Australian Bushwalk, Perth Zoo’s two emus enjoyed a morning bath from Senior keeper, Matt Ricci.

“Although these native birds are well adapted to the Aussie heat, on a hot day emus in the wild emus have often been sighted cooling off in a creek or dam. These large birds are actually quite good swimmers and love to play in water and mud. We normally have a hard time getting our two females out of the water,” said Matt.

As the mercury begins to rise, in the various aviaries and exhibits of the Zoo misting machines, extra water for hydration and cooling will be provided.

Many of the things that keepers do for the animals at Perth Zoo during the warmer weather such as creating food ice blocks can be done for pets at home. The animals at the Zoo are lucky since they have teams of people caring for them throughout the day when the heat reaches its peak, but most pets at home don’t have that luxury. In times of extreme heat, just as we concern ourselves about children and the elderly, extra consideration should be given to animals allowing them plenty of access to shade and water for hydration.