Sub Saharan Animals in Sub Zero Temps: How Parc Safari is Dealing with the Cold!

Published 01/07 2014 07:19PM

Updated 01/07 2014 07:36PM

Most of the wild animals you see on a safari are used to Sub Saharan, not sub zero temperatures.

So they sent me, the biggest animal lover on our team to Parc Safari in Hemmingford Quebec to see how the lions, tigers and bears are doing.

Africa in the heart of Quebec, but the climates, are polar opposites.

"Even this year, we had the cheetahs, and they're doing pretty well adapting to the winter," Sebastien Prairie said, of Parc Safari.

The camels are originally from Africa, so right now, we're talking about a 100 degree difference in temperature from what they're used to, but they do store fat in the fall and start thickening up that winter coat and they eventually get used to the cold. 

But for the majority of the 700 animals at Parc Safari, the zoologists transform the sanctuaries.

"Behind these walls, you have hyenas, tigers and lions," Prairie said. "And they won't let me see them!" I said. "Nope, not today."

Parc Safari wouldn't let our cameras inside, but we're told concrete walls separate the 50 species.

It's only the camels, alpaca, buffalo, artic wolves, and snow monkeys that brave the cold. But all of the animals have the option of going in and out.  

"They got their house inside to keep them warm, they got heated floors, heated walls," Prairie said.

During our visit, whipping winds put the feels-like temp at minus 25, but it's the ice they're most concerned about - especially for the elephants, giraffes and rhinos.

"It’s simply to prevent injuries, because they're not used to it, they might slide, or something and they're heavy, so if they fall,  it's going to be hard to bring them back up," Prairie added.

And finally, to stay in the winter spirit, a lion even used a Christmas tree as a chew toy!

The majority of the animals are kept inside from about November to March, but every day, the zookeepers take a different animal for a walk outside.

Parc Safari re-opens on May 16th.


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