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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Phew, that's better! Panting panda deals with the heat with a big block of ice and a cool pool

By Alex Ward

When the mercury pushes 35 degrees Celsius, the only remedy for a giant panda is one giant ice block.

Eight-year-old Wei Wei was able to cool down in the scorching weather at Wuhan Zoo, in China's Hubei Province, by giving the ice block a big bear hug on Wednesday.

And he didn’t venture far for snacks with carrots on ice a much cooler option than the usual bamboo shoots.

Way too hot for Wei Wei: For snacking the giant panda chose carrots on ice over bamboo shoots in 35 degree heat at the Chinese zoo

Polarised: The giant panda tried to think of polar bears, lying on a huge ice block in an attempt to cool down

Pandas eat fast and usually spend 12 hours a day munching away but in the heat there was a much more pressing matter - to cool down.

The only movement worth making was to his paddling pool where Wei Wei splashed himself with water and licked his lips.

Panda paddle: A splash in his pool at Wuhan Zoo was worth leaving the ice blocks for, if only for a quick dip

In the wild: Mountain streams and winter snow, an environment that giant pandas are acclimatised to, would've been a welcome change to the heat but the pool provided some relief

While his thick, coarse fur is handy in the cooler climates, when it comes to July - the hottest month in China - it can prove to be a boiling barrier.

There are only 1,000 giant pandas left in the wild and about 127 in captivity with many living in zoos like Wuhan Zoo and others in America, Mexico, Japan, Germany and North Korea.

Their biggest threat is the destruction of their habitat in southwestern China due to logging.



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