Here Is How Our Resident Animals Beat The Summer Heat!

July 19, 2021 | By Mahima Sharma

Temperatures soaring to nearly 50 degrees centigrade (122F), every human across India is facing the brunt of this brutal summer! The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for animals and people. It’s difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone humidity. To avoid things from getting intense and to make our resident rescued animals comfortable at all times, it is critical to have a summer care plan in place.

Suraj's trunk greets the summer season with a splash!
Suraj’s trunk greets the summer season with a splash! [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

Even though the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir has pleasant temperatures all through the year, with the maximum temperature in summer not going beyond 30 degrees, the extreme temperature variations, owing to global warming, has challenged this reality, just as well. The Asiatic black bears and Himalayan brown bears, under the care of Wildlife SOS at the Dachigam and Pahalgam Bear Rescue Centres, have been rescued from situations of serious man-animal conflict, bestowing us with the responsibility of caring for them.

One of the rescued brown bears foraging on a hot summer day.
One of the rescued brown bears foraging on a hot summer day. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

For the summer months, the bears have access to pools that are full of fresh water! In addition to this, their diet has an additional 3kgs of watermelons and apples that helps to keep them hydrated. The bears are also given multivitamin tonics and regular deworming to maintain their health. Enjoy a glimpse of a typical summer day at the rescue centres!

For the sloth bears at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, summers come with the added advantage of cool air with air coolers being installed in each of their dens. The coolers help maintain the temperature, especially during daytime and they enjoy a relaxing nap at night. The sloth bears have complete access to the pools in their enclosure, and find comfortable spots to dig and dose off in!

Elvis splashing around in his pool playing with enrichment ball.
Elvis splashing around in his pool playing with enrichment ball. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Shresatha Pachori]

For active bears like Rose and Elvis, nothing beats climbing the trees at top speed to enjoy the view and escape from the heat emanating from the ground. Just like the bears in the high North, the rescued sloth bears enjoy the deliciousness of summer fruits such as mangoes, watermelons and pomegranates!

Mowgli climbing a tree on a hot summer day or to spy on his neighbouring fields - we'll never know!
Mowgli climbing a tree on a hot summer day or to spy on his neighbouring fields – we’ll never know! [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Shresatha Pachori]

At the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, in Mathura, temperatures rise to as high as 50 degrees during peak summer months. While the staff is sweating buckets, the priority is to ensure that the elephants are comfortable at all times as they have the pools at their disposal. The elephant care staff ensures that the pools are cleaned regularly and filled with fresh water every day for the elephants to enjoy a splash.

Rajesh loves to splash around his pool which is filled with cool water everyday!
Rajesh loves to splash around his pool which is filled with cool water everyday! [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

Attuned to harsh summers, the elephants will be spotted indulging in relaxing mud baths that act as a natural sunscreen to protect their skin. The elephant care staff is sure to add an extra 15 minutes during their daily bath time, that the elephants really appreciate, filling their trunks and splashing water all around.

Kalpana (L) and Holly (R) splashing cool, wet mud all across them on a late evening walk
Kalpana (L) and Holly (R) splashing cool, wet mud all across them on a late evening walk. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

The elephants go for their exercised walks early in the morning and before sunset to be saved from the harshness of the sun as the evening breeze are always pleasant, making the walks easy for the caregivers as well.

As we proceed towards the Southern parts of India, the defined lines of summer and winter are blurred to seasons that can be explained as “easy summer” and “harsh summer”. At the lush green Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre, in Bengaluru, the rescued sloth bears enjoy the pleasant weather with occasional spells of rains that gives them the perfect opportunity to splash around in the muddy puddles. They will be spotted sprawled on their enrichments, even with the sun shining on their heads.

The major change in diet includes hydrolysing components such as coconut water that is given, especially to older bears, to help them deal with summertime, in addition to watermelons, papayas and coconuts. The bear care staff sincerely aspires to let the bears have the porridge once it is cooled down but the enthusiastic bears have no calm and gulp it down in few seconds.

Jackfruits are a favourite of our resident sloth bears at BBRC.
Jackfruits are a favourite of our resident sloth bears at BBRC. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Karthikeyan]

A soft grunt can be heard from the Western Ghats as one of our rescued leopards walks slowly to the icicle enrichment placed strategically atop the platform enrichment. The icicle is the best way for the leopards to beat the heat, in the sultry summer months in Maharashtra.

To escape the direct sunlight, there is nothing that the leopards enjoy more than climbing trees and securing the best position on the branch for a relaxing nap.

George, one of the youngest leopards under our care, taking a stroll in his field.
George, one of the youngest leopards under our care, taking a stroll in his field. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

You can play a role in the life of our rescued animals by sponsoring a fruit bucket or icicle for them for only $50! Donate here

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