by Libby Smidl
Because PPI is located in San Antonio, Texas, the blazing sun and humid air are no strangers to our animals and care staff. When summer arrives and temperatures surpass 100 degrees for weeks on end, one of our top priorities is the safety and comfort of the 350 animals in our care.
Hydration is essential and there are several different ways we keep our animals hydrated at the sanctuary. First and foremost, extra water sources are available to the animals. Additional water bottles and lixits, which turn hoses into automatic waterers, are added to both outdoor yards and indoor bedrooms, so the animals can access water regardless if they are sunbathing outside or cooling off in the shade indoors. The chimpanzees’ daily supplements and vitamins are mixed with Gatorade powder for extra electrolytes. Our older capuchins, who need softened biscuits and food for dental accommodations, will have their food soaked in coconut water to help keep them hydrated.
During the scorching, summer months, caregivers provide fans in each of the animal’s bedrooms. For our primates and animals that enjoy splashing in water, we set up misters and sprinklers as enrichments. Our two emus, Lola and Fred, love soaking and splashing in their sprinkler for hours on end. Swimming pools are filled and placed in yards for the primates to splash, soak, and forage for frozen fruit in (as a fun bonus enrichment).
Our primates also love frozen treats. Popsicles, frozen water bottles, juice cubes and blocks, and frozen fruit are a huge hit among all primates at the sanctuary.
Primarily Primates’ landscape is settled on 77 acres surrounded by tall, lush trees. Therefore, we are lucky enough that many of our enclosures have ample, natural shading from the harsh sun. However, in the yards and enclosures that are not surrounded by shade trees, we provide shade structures within the enclosure and shade tarps on top of the enclosures, offering the animals several different options for both sunning and retreating in the shade.
If you are interested in hosting a pool party, with hydrating fruits, such as watermelon, coconuts, oranges, and strawberries, you can visit our website here
and find out how to donate.