ith temperatures expected to soar to a scorching 125 Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) in parts of California this weekend, chimpanzees at the Los Angeles Zoo are staying cool by munching on frozen treats and relaxing in their enclosure.
California is no stranger to extreme weather events but this weekend's heatwave has been described as "rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal" by National Weather Service (NWS).
"We do a lot of different things to cool our animals down ... some of them have animal air conditioning, we sometimes run the hose for them so they can play in the hose. A lot of our animals, as you can see, like our chimpanzees, have their streams and their pools that they can cool off in," explained Beth Schaefer, who is the Director of Animal Programs at Los Angeles Zoo.
"Chimpanzees really love fruit and vegetables, so we'll freeze a different variety of apples and oranges and carrots," said Schaefer, as a family of chimpanzees devoured frozen carrots and zucchinis behind her.
With high temperatures forecast across Southern California for the entire U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend and the National Weather Service (NWS) "a high risk for heat illness," Schaefer said it was important to keep animals cool during the heatwave.
"We always encourage people to remember that if it's too hot for you, it might be too hot for your pet. So make sure your pets have access to a cool place that they always have fresh water to drink," she says.
"If you're going to walk your dog or some people walk their cats, make sure that the tarmac is not too hot for their paws. If you can't hold your hands on the concrete or the tarmac for more than three or five seconds, then it's too hot for your dog."
Climate scientists blame human activities for a two to three degree Fahrenheit rise in average temperatures in California since the early 20th century and say extreme wet-dry cycles are creating abundant parched vegetation to supercharge wildfires.
The Los Angeles Zoo is home to some 1,400 animals.