Chester Zoo has confirmed the devastating fire that ripped through one of the enclosures yesterday resulted in the deaths of some of the park’s animals, calling it one of the ‘toughest days in the zoo’s long history’.
— David Alan Wearing (@DWearing1972) December 15, 2018
In a statement, the zoo announced insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire were among those lost to the blaze.
When a fire broke out in the Monsoon Island enclosure all 21,000 animals and all the parks staff and visitors were required to be evacuated.
Yesterday, Cheshire Fire and Rescue said all animals were accounted for; however, today Chester Zoo explained the keepers were encouraged to focus on getting endangered mammals to safety.
Chief Operating Officer Jamie Christon said: “Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety – including the zoo’s group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.”
— David Clough (@DLClough) December 15, 2018
Christon added that the loss of any animal was utterly ‘devastating’ and ‘heart-breaking’ for the zoo.
“We are though, devastated to say that we were unable to save some of our insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire,” Christon said.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.”
The statement also praised the efforts of the rescue services and the staff, saying: “The remarkable efforts from the zoo team and the emergency services meant the fire was extinguished as quickly as possible.
“Visitors were evacuated immediately and we would like to thank them for their understanding and cooperation. Thankfully, no staff or public were harmed in the incident.”
— David Clough (@DLClough) December 16, 2018
In the wake of the horrific incident, the zoo stated its team is working non-stop to re-home the evacuated animals, while a JustGiving page has been set up to raise funds for rebuilding the destroyed enclosure – so far over £30,000 has been donated.
Christon said: “The strength and support from the public has been incredibly overwhelming and the messages of goodwill have been of great comfort to our teams. We will support each other in rebuilding this part of the zoo and continue our mission of preventing extinction.”
Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown but authorities are investigating the incident.