Arctic blast posing dangers for exotic animals at Clinton zoo

Arctic blast posing dangers for exotic animals at Little Ponderosa Zoo

Posted:
A second blast of arctic air is proving to be a challenge for animals at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton. A second blast of arctic air is proving to be a challenge for animals at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton.
"We've had to turn up gas heat, add extra heat lights, give extra feed. A lot of the animals we feed every four hours to help keep their energy levels up," Mary Lou Redmond said. "We've had to turn up gas heat, add extra heat lights, give extra feed. A lot of the animals we feed every four hours to help keep their energy levels up," Mary Lou Redmond said.
Animals that are more sensitive to cold temperatures, like birds, reptiles, primates and the young and old have been moved into specially heated areas. Animals that are more sensitive to cold temperatures, like birds, reptiles, primates and the young and old have been moved into specially heated areas.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

CLINTON (WATE) - A second blast of arctic air is proving to be a challenge for animals at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton. Most of these exotic creatures are thousands of miles away from their natural habitat, like the Sahara Desert.

Too much time outside in the bitter cold can leave these animals chilled, weak, and sick. That's why employees are adding extra straw to their shelters and in some cases moving animals inside.

The animals are curious, wild and cold. That's why Mary Lou Redmond, manager at Little Ponderosa Zoo, is doing all she can to make sure these exotic animals survive this second blast of freezing temps.

"We've had to turn up gas heat, add extra heat lights, give extra feed. A lot of the animals we feed every four hours to help keep their energy levels up," she said.

In fact, 180 bales of straw are being used just for bedding. Employees are working 24-hour shifts as a safety measure so that heat lamps don't suddenly turn off.

"The animal can get chilled or sick. Some of the elderly or primates they can die very shortly when you're talking about zero degree temperatures," said Redmond.

Animals that are more sensitive to cold temperatures, like birds, reptiles, primates and the young and old have been moved into specially heated areas.

This polar vortex is now becoming a burden to the zoo's budget.

"Everybody is taken care of and we're able to provide, but it's really put us short because of the extreme cold weather that's been unusual from the past five years," added Redmond.

While this winter has proven to be quite an adventure, each day is simply a labor of love for Redmond.

"You think of these animals almost like your children because they depend on you for everything," she said.

Employees say they always need blankets and straw or hay for bedding. But you can also make a monetary donation to help with things like their electric bill. You can learn more by visiting the Little Ponderosa Zoo's website by clicking here.

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