Animals
2:12 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Roger Williams Park Zoo Works To Keep Animals Warm Through The Bitter Cold

Though much of the snow is gone, Rhode Islanders aren’t getting a reprieve from the bitter cold.

And neither are the animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

Sabu the snow leopard poses for a picture at Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Credit Roger Williams Park Zoo

With temperatures hovering in the teens, and not expected to get much warmer, officials at the zoo report the major challenge is keeping tropical animals, like elephants and alligators, safe. 

All animals whose natural habitats are warm are being kept in heated barns.

But animals like the snow leopard, and red pandas, which hail from the high mountains of Asia, are more active now than in the summer months.

And some animals not native to the north, have adapted to the change of climate, said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the Zoo’s executive director.

“Zebras, for example, being an African animal, zebras are pretty cold-tolerant.  You know, on most days they’re out enjoying the weather, and a lot of times they will adapt and grow a little thicker fur on their coat,” said Goodman.

As for the humans, Goodman said that while the zoo is open through the winter, visitor numbers have been down.

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