Denton County wildlife ranch coping with extreme heat

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 4 at 3:05 AM

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch

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PILOT POINT — Animals (like humans) can also succumb to the heat. That's why a Denton County wildlife ranch is taking extreme measures to protect its residents from the scorching temperatures.

The owners of Sharkarosa Ranch say it got too hot too fast for the animals. In all the years he's been caring for wildlife, Scott Edwards said he's never seen a summer like this.

With more than 30 days of temperatures over 100 degrees, keeping the animals cool has become a major challenge.

Edwards said it's the younger animals that are the most susceptible. That's why they brought their kinkajous, natives to South America, inside to an air conditioned building.

"These two have been on displays. We use them for our education programs, and they're not used to the heat," Edwards said.

The lemurs are laying on ice beds. Towels were soaked and frozen overnight. In the morning, the towels are laid on a thick layer of ice. A giant fan caps off the coolness.

In nearby barns, several water chillers help cool the air. "They actually bring the temperature down in here probably five to seven degrees," Edwards said. "Plus, they circulate the air."

Edwards said his animals are like family. So he and his staff are checking on them hourly.

So far, their efforts have paid off. There haven’t been any casualties.

"Things in the wild that their mothers could provide or their habitat could provide, we have to provide here at the ranch," Edwards said.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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