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Snow keeps Dudley Zoo busy
11:10am Monday 21st January 2013 in Local
THE weekend’s heavy snowfalls delighted and disappointed animals in equal measure at Dudley Zoo.
While the snow leopards, red pandas and penguins couldn't wait to play in the chilly white blanket the giraffes, flamingos and lemurs opted for the cosiness of their internal dens instead.
But it wasn't all fun and games for keepers who struggled to move supplies across the 40-acre site and resorted to using sledges to transport foodstuffs to feed the zoo's 1300-strong collection.
Chief executive, Peter Suddock explained: "We always heed Met Office warnings and on Friday staff arrived at 6.30am to make the site accessible. The snow fell steadily throughout the morning but by midday it was coming down very heavily and keepers were battling to complete their duties.
"Despite the awful weather conditions we had some visitors on site, mainly keen photographers who wanted to get shots of their favourite species in the snow, but we took the decision to close at 2pm.
One of the first tasks on the upper level of the zoo was to smash through the frozen pools in Penguin Bay and part of the moat around the 11th century Dudley Castle that is home to Patagonian sealions.
Elsewhere additional heaters were laid on for meerkats and small primates and warm drinks made for big apes, including two-year-old orang utan, Sprout, who caught her first glimpse of deep snow.
Mr Suddock added: "It's business as usual for us and lots of the animals love this weather, particularly our young tigers and baby red panda, but others are staying holed up and opting for 'room service' until the weather improves!"