Oh My! Lions, Tigers and Bears Animal Sanctuary Keeping Cool During San Diego Heat Wave

Animal sanctuary taking steps to keep big cats and other rescues cool during record high temperatures

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What do you give a bear or tiger when it’s hungry, whatever it wants right? When it’s hot outside, would you believe water yoga?

“We have a bear named Cherry Bomb she loves her pool you can find her in there doing, we call it Cherry Yoga stretching her legs and grabbing on her feet,” Lions, Tigers and Bears volunteer manager Caitlin Donahue said.

Donahue was not caught off guard when temperatures rocketed into the 90s at the exotic animal sanctuary.  

“We get lows when it is snowing out here and we get days that we get heat advisories and it’s 100 degrees,” Donahue said.

It helps to have a variety of big cat ice in your freezer.

Sometimes they’re filled with meat, sometimes fruit and vegetables.

“We make sure we have a stock of it, so our volunteers are really important. They play a huge role in it, so they start prepping the popsicles making sure they’re in the freezer, Donahue said.

It’s a favorite among the more than 60 exotic rescues that roam the enclosures here.

Cherry Bomb is the silver tip grizzly that does water yoga. Nola is the four-year-old White Tiger that shares an enclosure with Mocha.

David Summers, NBC 7
Four-year-old white tiger, Nola, at "Lions Tigers & Bears" animal sanctuary in Alpine, April 8, 2022.

On hot days, Mocha, like most of the big cats here prefers a nap in the shade.

“If it is a really hot day, it’s kind of like us people, we don’t want to be walking around running around playing around in the heat," Donahue said.

The greatest concern in weather like this, is heat exhaustion. That’s why almost every enclosure has a water feature.

Donahue says great care is taken to make sure the animals have plenty of vitamin supplements and clean water to drink or jump into in these conditions.  

Most of these species are native to warm climates and all have lived here half their lives, still a sudden climate change requires a few more creature comforts.

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