French pandas stay cool with ice cream in record summer heat

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, August 17, 2012 16:07 EDT
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Yuan Zi ("Chubby") a Chinese panda sucks an ice cube flavoured with honey and apple in his enclosure at Beauval zoo in Saint-Aignan central-western France, on August 17, 2012. The animals left their breeding centre in southwestern China for a 10-year stay in France, on a loan sealed after years of top-level negotiations. (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)
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Two Chinese pandas in a French zoo are chilling out in the current summer heatwave with the help of honey and apple ice creams.

With temperatures set to touch 40 degrees Celsius (104F) in central France this weekend, Yuan Zi and Huan Huan have been enjoying the home-made treats as a supplement to their normal bamboo-based diet.

“Since Thursday we’ve been giving them ice cream that we make ourselves three times a day,” Rodolphe Delord, the director of Beauval Zoo, told AFP.

“We also use cooling sprays and if it gets really hot they can go into their compound where the air conditioning is set at 20 degrees.”

The two pandas have increased visitor numbers at the zoo by 50 percent since their arrival from China in mid-February.

But the star attractions are not getting special treatment: all the other bears in the zoo are also enjoying daily ice creams.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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