| 5.4°C Dublin

...well at least the snow leopard looks happy

BABY monkeys, young elephants and apes susceptible to the bitter cold are being treated to heated shelters in Dublin zoo.

The animals, which are used to hotter climates, are being constantly monitored by caring zookeepers to keep them stimulated and warm as they shy away from the outdoors.

Ciaran McMahon, a team leader at the zoo, says its birds, bats, apes, reptiles, and other exotic animals need a lot of love and attention during the big freeze.

“We have baby Macacas which are small primates, and we’ve two young ones which are four and seven months old.


“All our small primates and apes are indoors as a precaution. The temperatures are going to -10 degrees now and the animals get frozen, especially when the wind chill is bad.

“We keep them under observation and their houses are heated to 26 degrees. In times like this they prefer to stay in. It’s very snug inside.”

The zoo has two young elephants, Biba (2) and Asha (3), which have to be monitored very carefully.

“They’re very susceptible to colds and flus so we watch them around the clock,” he said.

There are some resilient animals which love the cold, though, and will happily sit outside all day in the snow.

“The snow leopard lives in the Himalayas, which is thousands of feet above sea level.

“The Arctic fox looks very big – he looks like he weighs about 25 or 30 kilos – but most of that is fur. He has a massive coat of white fur and he’s out there sitting on one of the big rocks at the moment – he prefers to stay outside.”