Surviving the cold

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/10 15:58:39

Shanghai’s flora and fauna must be protected from freezing weather

The city is taking serious measures to keep plants and zoo animals warm as a cold wave hits Shanghai this week, Xinmin Evening News reported Wednesday.

Without central heating in local apartments as residents of North China enjoy, southern Chinese must endure a wet, freezing climate every winter by wrapping up in padded clothing or using expensive air-­conditioning heaters.

But how can flora and fauna survive Shanghai's unpleasant winter?

Over 5,000 precious wild animals of 470 species at Shanghai Zoo, located on ­Hongqiao Road in ­Changning district, have their own tricks. Animals like the sika deer and the red deer grow thicker and longer hair every winter to keep warm.

Tonic is also used by zookeepers to protect their animals from the cold weather. In addition to daily fruits and vegetables, the zookeepers prepare soybean meal, sugarcane, pumpkin and malt for herbivores. For primates, they add high-calorie food such as sugarcane, red dates and nuts.

Animals coming from tropical or subtropical areas are inherently not hardy. Therefore, the zoo uses thick curtains and doors to insulate their cages. Some also install heating equipment in some sheds and cages.

Clothing for plants

This is the first winter for a baby South American tapir, born in May 2017. In order to help it survive Shanghai's cold weather, zookeepers have reduced its outdoor exercise time and maintained a room temperature of about 15 degrees in its cage using floor heating and an air-conditioning system.

Hippos are often the most comfortable in the zoo because they can bask in a "hot spring" that comes from a deep underground well where temperatures are maintained around 20 degrees.

Every morning, zookeepers empty the old water, clean and sterilize the pool and then let in clean water.

The hippos enjoy standing against the outlet as a way to wash away their weariness and refresh their spirits.

Plants bring greenness and fresh air to urban Shanghai, which is why local authorities are making great efforts to protect flora from withering in the cold.

Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui district, which boasts nearly 200,000 trees, has many tender plants such as Washington Palms and Cycads.

The staff must wrap these with straw, which can help insulate them.

At Guyi Garden of Jiading district, more than 100 tropical water lilies from Southeast Asia and South America have been moved into a greenhouse where temperatures are maintained above 10 degrees.

Heating rods have also been inserted into the pond to prevent lilies from frostbite. The garden will also cover them with plastic sheeting if necessary.

Considering the possibility of freezing rains and even snow in the weeks ahead, Shanghai authorities have also initiated contingency plans to tackle emergencies caused by this terrible weather.

The story was a translation based on a report by Xinmin Evening News.

A lizard basks under a heat lamp at a zoo in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday. Photo: VCG


A fennec fox curls up at Shanghai Zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Zoo

Two hippos stay in a room to keep warm at the zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Zoo

Three monkeys hug to keep warm at the zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Zoo




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