Toronto Zoo animals under threat from smoky skies

CKTB NEWS | toronto zoo

This week, for the first time in its history, the Toronto Zoo's animals were under serious threat from smoky skies.

Most were allowed to stay outside, where they're more comfortable, said Grant Furniss, director of wildlife care, but those at particular risk were ushered indoors when the wildfire smoke came rolling in.

Like people, animals that are very old, very young, pregnant or have a history of respiratory issues are most likely to experience ill effects from air pollution.

“As for the healthier animals, it's very difficult to see any sort of clinical or physical signs that they're in any kind of distress. But obviously, we would look at their breathing,” Furniss said. “And as soon as we see any signs of distress, those animals would be moved inside immediately.”

Zookeepers look for respiratory symptoms among the outdoor cohort, he said. Animals whose abdomens are moving too quickly, indicating trouble breathing, get sent inside.

"This is new territory for the Toronto Zoo", Furniss said. “This is the first time it has ever been as bad as it is now.”