It’s so cold, even polar bears and penguins were being kept indoors Monday.
Anana, the lone polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, has never grown the thick layer of fat that bears in their native Arctic develop to insulate themselves against winter temperatures that can range as low as -50 degrees F, zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar said. So when temperatures plunged well into the negative range in Chicago, Anana stayed in a 40ish-degree habitat, Dewar said.
“In the wild, they would seasonally eat seals and fatten themselves up with that blubber,” Dewar said. But zookeepers “don’t feed them seals or fatten them up,” she said.And at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, both bald eagles and African penguins “who are used to temperate climates” were taken off exhibit until the weather warms up, the facility reported.
Chicago saw a record low of minus 16 (minus 27 C) on Monday. The day’s high was minus 11, with a windchill of minus 34. It’s part of an Arctic blast that plunged deep into the central United States on Monday, leaving Nashville, Tennessee, 40 degrees colder than Albany, New York; Memphis 20 degrees colder than Anchorage, Alaska; and Atlanta colder than Moscow — Russia or Idaho, take your pick.