Zoo and city cope with heat

Prague's polar bears get fish ice cream, humans get sprinkler trucks

The heatwave hitting Prague is affecting not only residents but also the animals in the zoo. The city is helping by watering down the streets, while the zoo has its own protocols for animals that are not native to warm climates.

July 31 was the hottest day so far of the year in the Czech Republic, with 37.6 degrees recorded in Řež near Prague. The heatwave is expected to last until Thursday.

Many zoo animals not only have access to pools and moats, but their indoor quarters are left open all day so they have the chance to get out of the sun.

“In these hot days, it is important for animals to move from outdoor ranges to indoor quarters, where they are often cooler than outdoors. This concerns, for example, large beasts,” Prague Zoo's mammal curator Pavel Brandl said in a press release.

For some animals, food is placed in the shade to get them to come out of the heat. This, in particular, is true for hoofed animals from northern climates and animals native to mountain regions.

A number of species use water in outdoor enclosures. In addition to their swimming in pools and dams, visitors can also see them get showered from a hose. Thorold's deer, a vulnerable species, and reindeer like to cool off in the mud.

Besides using their pool and waterfall, polar bears also have ice, water nozzles and something like ice cream made from frozen fish, fruits and vegetables.

Some primates receive fresh fruit ice cream.

Many animals naturally take to the water in the heat, such as the South American bush dog, which has the nickname water dog. A few of the smarter animals get creative. One of the zoo's alpacas does not like to wait for a shower from a hose, and sits in a trough of drinking water.

The Prague Zoo also looks after humans in the heat. visitors. Water nozzles are around the zoo. There is a children's paddling pool and a number of places where people can get chilled drinks or ice cream.

The zoo is not the only place to use water sprinklers. Prague residents have likely seen trucks wetting down the streets. There are exact circumstances when these trucks are called out.

The city's Technical Roadways Administration (TSK) deploys the trucks whenever temperatures rise above 25° Celsius for three consecutive days.

“The reason is not only climate rejuvenation but above all the reduction of dust and the intensity of ground-level ozone,” TSK spokeswoman Barbora Lišková said on the TSK website.

When temperatures exceed 30° C, they sprinkle the maximum road area of central Prague and the adjacent urban areas.

This year the sprinkler trucks were launched for the first time almost the same day as the previous year, on May 28 . It was May 20 in 2017. Last year, from May to the end of August, there were 16 such days when sprinklers were used.

This year, up to Aug. 1, the TSK has sent the sprinklers to the streets already 24 times. The trucks have refreshed 13,000 kilometers of Prague streets during 931 scheduled runs.

The daily water consumption is around 660 cubic meters and one sprinkler wagon of five to 10 cubic meters refreshes streets with an average length of 17 kilometers.

A daily sprinkling with four rounds of trucks goign out costs Kč 868,766 without VAT.

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