No carrot for you!
One January day in Novosibirsk Zoo 02/9/2013, 09:18
Even ligers breed and multiply in Novosibirsk Zoo – but if you want to see everything the park has to offer, it will take you all day. Sib.fm's correspondents found out how the zoo's inhabitants spend the winter and whether they are affected by the bitter Siberian cold.
It's business as usual at the zoo in winter: you can even meet some visitors on a weekday if it's not too cold outside. The low temperatures hardly bother the animals: the African lion has got used to the Siberian winter, goes out for a walk in -36°C (-33°F) and, according to the zookeepers, looks pretty smart while he's doing it.
Predators have to eat more often, but in smaller portions: if they are usually fed twice a day, then now – four times, so the meat doesn't have time to freeze. All animals are also given vitamin supplements.
The cat houses have stone tops and are wood-panelled inside; during cold spells zookeepers add extra hay for insulation, so that the temperature inside is always above zero.
Heat-loving animals – cheetahs, fennec foxes, sand dune cats, tropical and aquatic birds, monkeys, tapirs and ostriches are moved into heated housing.
Kiara the liliger (cross between a male lion and a ligress) has recovered after breaking her leg and is very playful; she's in the old pavilion now. Snow leopards, Siberian tigers and other big cats are left outside: their dense fur stops them from freezing.
White tigers aren't very keen on the cold, so rarely go outside when the temperature drops below -10 degrees.
Then there are the polar bears who, on the contrary, are in their element. We caught this bear dealing with some serious business: trying to hide his favourite toy, a plastic container, from prying eyes.
None of the reptiles have gone into hibernation, they stay active if they are well fed. The brown bears, on the other hand, will sleep until spring.
Hoofed animals live through the winter without any fuss too: snow is a familiar element for a reindeer. Ivan the ram is trying to get something yummy out of a zookeeper.
"Go away Ivan, there's no carrot!" he shouts loudly, pushing the animal away with his elbow and telling us how fast Ivan can rip a pair of jeans when he's in a bad mood.
Colobuses are beautiful monkeys with a "white shawl" around their shoulders – and they're very restless. A new addition to the family has just arrived and now everyone feels obliged to hold the baby in their arms, which is why there is constant fighting in the enclosure.
The other monkeys can't just sit back and listen to the cries of their cousins, so it's always noisy in the "Tropical World" pavilion where they've all moved for the winter.
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Only the tapir is asleep on bedding made of hay, waiting for the arrival of spring and his move back into the fresh air.