PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Zoo is taking extra precautions to keep their animals safe and warm during the snow storm.

When it snows, resident animals like giraffes, donkeys and goats need some extra love, said Peoria Zoo Director Yvonne Strode.

“Typical winter weather, we put a little extra bedding, protective barriers. When it’s really this severe, we have to go the extra mile,” Strode said. “The keepers know exactly what they’re looking for all of their animals. Which ones are going to shiver, which ones are going to have other problems in the cold. So we’re well aware of what the animals need and how to give it to them.”

In the goat and donkey barn, there are tarps to keep the wind out, straw to keep them comfortable and heat lamps to keep them warm.

“The goats here do pretty well until it gets below zero. So we have to give them extra bedding and we block the wind for him,” said zookeeper Justine Doty.

Giraffes are housed in a heated enclosure, the warmest place in the zoo at 75 degrees. Doty said the giraffe enclosure is monitored all day long.

“We have to make sure they stay warm, so there’s a little extra weatherproofing we do to make sure we block the air from outside. Getting in, we monitor their heat sources and their temperatures inside the barns constantly all day long,” she said.

“The big thing in there, we’ve got to make sure those heaters are working. We’ve got 24/7 coverage. If temperatures start to drop, we’ll call somebody and they get out almost immediately,” added Strode.

Nikita the Siberian tiger paces outside during the snow storm

However some animals, like the Siberian tiger and Himalayan takin, prefer the cold weather.

“So when it’s snowing like this we give them the choice to be inside or outside. They often will choose to be outside. They’re built for it, they’re mountain creatures. So they love to go out in the snow and play in it,” said Doty.

The Himalayan takin thrives in cold weather

Strode said zookeepers are there everyday. Some of the animal buildings have alarms for the cold weather.

“We have alarms in some of our buildings, so even if it starts to get little too cool on our reptiles, we will get alerted and we get out here and fix that problems,” she said.

Doty said taking care of the animals during snow storms is challenging, but rewarding.

“It’s a little bit of extra work but its all about keeping them safe and keeping them warm…It’s hard at times but it’s a really fun job. When it’s cold like this I’m still here, I bundle up, I try and stay warm while I’m taking care of the animals. But they make it super rewarding,” she said.