A Roman zoo is feeding its animals a daily treat of frozen fruits to help them cope with the hottest early summer temperatures in 20 years.
Zoo-keepers throw solid blocks of frozen kiwi fruit, melon, grapefruit and apples — prepared by children taking part in a summer school at the Bioparco zoo — into the animals' enclosures.
For hungrier animals like the Balkan brown bear, a main course of frozen fish follows.
Zoo-keepers told Reuters at feeding time on Monday that iced food not only cools the animals down, but forces some mammals to eat more slowly, aiding digestion. The zoo said there was no health risk in feeding frozen food to animals.
It's just one of the measures taken to help animals like the Japanese snow monkeys, accustomed to temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius, to adapt to the Mediterranean climate.
Completely redesigned in 1998, the Bioparco also ensures animals are provided with pools, enclosures, sprinklers and plenty of shade to keep them cool in the summer.
Italy's capital has experienced daily temperatures hovering around the mid-thirties Celsius for the past two weeks, the highest late June temperatures for nearly 20 years.