Workers Protecting Animals as Temps Dip in Florida

Zoo Miami making sure animals stay warm as FWC works to save sea turtles, manatees

Zoo workers and wildlife officials in South Florida and throughout the state are helping animals to keep warm during this week's cold spell.

Temperatures in the 40s are not an everyday occurrence for the lions, tortoises and hooting owls at Zoo Miami.

"Tonight's our first real cold front coming through so a lot of animals are prepared for the cold by giving them extra heat," Zoo Miami's Ron Magill said. "Things like our primates, our orangutans, our gorillas, they're provided with extra bedding, hay and blankets that they use within their sleeping areas."

Zoo employees were busy putting up tarps around the elephant pin Wednesday, while Visitors were bundled up during the day before the real cold weather sets in.

The animals will do their part in keeping themselves warm, Magill said.

"A lot of animals like the tigers and some of the other animals like that will be actually quite frisky in the morning so it might be a good time to come see them being quite active as they try to burn off some calories and warm up," he said.

Meanwhile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is working to save sea turtles and manatees affected by low water temperatures.

When water temps drop, stunned sea turtles may float listlessly in the water, officials said. Though they appear to be dead they are often still alive.

Officials said people should avoid areas where manatees gather in large numbers, since disturbances may cause them to leave warm-weather sites and could put them in danger.

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