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Rabat zoo keepers are adapting to heatwave

A Barbary lioness and her cub (also known as the Atlas or North African lion), part of a Panthera leo population that is extinct in the wild, are pictured in their enclosure a   -  
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FADEL SENNA/AFP or licensors


Zookeepers at the Rabat zoo are providing some of the animals there with frozen food and cool showers to help them cope with the summer heat, especially during heatwaves.

Temperatures in Rabat can soar to 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) during heatwaves, so zookeepers adopt cooling methods to help the animals that cannot handle this heat.

Frozen treats provided at the zoo bring some cooling relief to animals such as lions, which take their time eating them.

"We spray the birds with water and aim to recreate the conditions they would find in nature," said Hafid Achentarmoun, a zookeeper.

"Birds are constantly seeking water whether to drink it or swim in it. These are the methods they use to lower their body temperatures," he added.

Opened in 2012, the Rabat zoo houses approximately 2,000 animals from nearly 190 species.

It also plays a crucial role in safeguarding endangered and rare fauna, notably, the Atlas Lions.

The beloved big cats have gone extinct in the wild but a few dozen roam in enclosures at Rabat's zoo, where they are carefully looked after.

Stretched across 27 hectares, the zoo draws an average of 60,000 visitors each year, making it a significant cultural and tourist destination

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