Orangutans fight the heat in Europe as temperatures soar

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A handout picture of an orangutan playing with water at the Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna, Austria (Daniel Zupanc/Vienna Zoo/AP)

Orangutans at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoo are keeping cool with buckets of water as much of Europe swelters in a summer heatwave.

Keepers gave Vladimir, Sol and Mota wet sponges, water hoses and a large tub to frolic about with as temperatures pushed 32C (almost 90F) in the Austrian capital on Tuesday.

A handout picture of an orangutan filling his cups with water at the zoo Schoenbrunn in Vienna, Austria
(Daniel Zupanc/Vienna Zoo/AP)
A handout picture of an orangutan taking shelter from the sun under a blanket at the zoo Schoenbrunn in Vienna, Austria
(Daniel Zupanc/Vienna Zoo/AP)

Authorities in neighbouring Switzerland raised the heat warning to the second-highest level for areas along the southern and northern borders with Italy and Germany, warning people to avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated.

Firefighters were using helicopters to battle blazes in Germany’s eastern state of Brandenburg, where forests have seen little rain lately.

The peak of the heatwave, caused by warm air streaming northward from Africa, is expected towards the end of the week.

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