Ice blocks, showers keep pandas cool in heat wave

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A panda holds a piece of ice to cool itself at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, July 28, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Giant pandas are cooling down with ice, showers, and air conditioning to fight high temperatures in southwest China's Chengdu City.

The furry animals generally avoid temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius, and they may suffer heatstroke and life-threatening complications if temperatures exceed 28 degrees Celsius, said Mao Min, a keeper at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.

Daily temperatures have reached 35 degrees or higher on average since last Friday in Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan. The city saw temperatures as high as 37 degrees Tuesday, and the Chengdu meteorological observatory has issued an orange alert for the scorching weather.

"Giant pandas at the base walk outdoors between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. After returning to their shelters, they spend the rest of the day with air conditioning," said Mao. She advised tourists to visit the base in the morning as the animals can only be viewed indoors during the rest of the day.

Young giant pandas are given showers after returning from outdoors each day, she added.

The base also provides ice blocks for the animals to play with and to help lower their temperatures, said Mao.

Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, while more than 300 live in captivity.

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