As temperatures rise, tigers get chicken ice pops at Thai zoo

A tiger plays in water at a tiger zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on March 31, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

CHIANG MAI, Thailand - Tigers were fed frozen chicken ‘popsicles’ and enticed to splash in a wading pool at a Thai zoo on Thursday as temperatures rose.

Around 50 of the big cats live at the Tiger Kingdom zoo in Chiang Mai, 700km (435 miles) north of Bangkok, according to Patchara Chanted, coordinator of the tiger handlers there.

“Tigers will save their energy during most of the day by lying down or trying to exert themselves as little as possible,” said Patchara. “But if it gets too hot for them, they will start panting like cats or dogs to avoid heat stroke.”

“We provide some activities in the water or a toy to help them cool down.”

Two tigers splashed in a pool, jumping to swat at a bunch of leaves held above the water by a handler. Twice daily during the summer months, the tigers are fed chicken encased in ice blocks.

Thailand’s hot season began at the end of February and temperatures are expected to rise as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).