Chester Zoo Staff Devastated As Animals Die In Fire

Kurit afshen\Agustin J. VillarrealShutterstock

On Saturday morning, a fire broke out at the Monsoon Forest Habitat of the Chester Zoo near Liverpool, England. Shortly afterwards, the zoo made a heart wrenching statement about the result of that blaze, confirming that there were animals that lost their lives.

The message was shared on the zoo’s website, saying that all mammals were successfully led away from the flames after the fire started.

“Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety,” the statement read, adding, “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. It’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.”

The zoo also stated that all the animals who were rescued from the blaze have been given emergency homes within the zoo until more permanent homes can be found for them. Among the animals rescued are endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons, and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.

The zoo remained closed for the remainder of Saturday as staff worked to find new homes for the animals, and to deal with the aftermath of the fire.

A total of 15 fire crews and ambulance staff attended the fire, the BBC reported. Only one person needed to be treated for smoke inhalation, and no one was injured in any other way during the blaze. The zoo has stated that an investigation into the cause of the fire will be taking place in the next few weeks.

Following the fire, the zoo has started a fundraising campaign, hoping to raise £50,000 (approximately $63,000.) Within just over 24 hours of the fire breaking out, it reached that goal.

The Monsoon Forest Habitat was first opened to the public in August 2015, and is the U.K.’s largest zoological building. The 14-acre section of the zoo has its own controlled climate, with temperatures reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit to replicate the normal conditions the animals would enjoy in South East Asia.

Jamie Christon, the zoo’s chief operating officer, has issued a message sincerely thanking the public for their support and donations at this difficult time.

“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.”