Rome zoo animals cool down

During the hottest days of Rome's sweltering summer, staff at the city's Bioparco cooled down the resident tigers, lions and leopards with giant ice cubes containing raw meat.

The monkeys tucked into frozen fruit, watermelons and bamboo canes filled with frozen yoghurt, while all the zoo's 1,200 animals had access to extra drinking water fountains.

Authorities at the Bioparco took the steps to prevent the animals from succumbing to dehydration and heatstroke.

Meanwhile the zoo's latest residents made themselves at home in the reptile house in mid-August. The two young male Komodo dragons are the first of their kind to be seen in an Italian zoo, and come from Los Angeles as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

Also known as the Komodo monitor, the large dangerous lizards are native to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar. Although they have existed for millions of years, they were only discovered by humans about a century ago.