PORTLAND, Ore. -- WIth record highs expected in Portland this week, the staff at the Oregon Zoo is doing everything it can to keep its animals safe and comfortable in the heat.
Oregon Zoo Deputy Director Sheri Horizny said the location of the zoo helps.
“We’re slightly better off than most since we’re at a higher elevation and nestled among the tall trees of Washington Park,” Horiszny said. “But even so, this week is going to be a scorcher.”
The zoo will close its gates early at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, when temperatures are expected to reach 105 degrees or higher. Anyone in the zoo at that time can stay on the grounds until 4 p.m. The Zoo also canceled all its "Wildlife Live" flight shows for the week.
Horizny said the staff is making sure everyone -- animals and visitors -- have access to water and places to cool down. Animals have indoor areas they can retreat to when the heat becomes unbearable, and many animal habitats have pools and other water features.
“Elephant Lands has two pools — one of them 160,000 gallons,” Horiszny said. “Plus shade structures with misters, a water cannon, and a climate-controlled indoor space, Forest Hall, where the caregivers can actually make it ‘rain’ inside.”