Sedgwick Co. Zoo preps animals to fight the freeze

No matter what the weather, zoo officials say they're prepared to keep the animals safe in any conditions. (Photo courtesy KSN News)

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Cold weather has been an unavoidable topic these last few days, and with temperatures even colder this weekend, the Sedgwick County Zoo is preparing animals to fight the freeze.

Lines at the Sedgwick County Zoo aren’t as long this time of year. Just like people are trying to stay out of the cold, some animals are trying to do the same, including Western lowland gorillas.

“These guys are more the tropical, equatorial forest, Africa, so they’re in the little warm, it does get cool there, just not as cold as it does in Kansas,” explained Danielle Decker, Sedgwick County Zoo Senior Keeper.

The gorillas are kept inside when it is cooler than around 40 degrees. The elephants can tolerate the cold a bit better and have the option of spending time both outside and inside.

“If it’s sunny and nice like this, I say nice, you know feels like eight or whatever, we still give them the choice to go out,” said Lauren Ripple, Sedgwick County Zoo Elephant Manager. “And they’ll go out for 20 to 30 minutes. But then they have the chance to come into the barn and warm up.”

But not all animals are hating the freezing cold.

“Especially the ones that live in North America were designed by nature to take this kind of weather,” explained Ryan Gulker, Sedgwick County Zoo Deputy Director. “In fact, I think sometimes they prefer it over the heat. Animals like the bison, and the prairie dogs and the pronghorn.”

No matter what the weather, zoo officials say they’re prepared to keep the animals safe in any conditions.

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