Chester Zoo has confirmed some animals have died during the huge fire, leaving staff members ‘devastated’.
Keepers were able to save numerous animals at the Monsoon Forest habitat – where the fire originated – including endangered Sumatran orangutans and silvery gibbons.
However, they were sadly unable to rescue all the affected creatures and it’s now been reported some insects, frogs, fish and small birds have been killed in the blaze.
In a statement on the Chester Zoo website, Chief Operating Officer Jamie Christon said:
Yesterday was one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo’s long history. 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.
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.
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.
We can confirm that the fire brigade is currently fighting a fire in our Monsoon Forest habitat.
Visitors have been evacuated & our response team is working alongside emergency services to bring the situation under control.
The zoo is now closed. We’ll update as soon as we can.
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) December 15, 2018
New homes within Chester Zoo have now been found for the rescued animals, with staff working ‘around the clock’ to relocate them quickly.
Mr Christon has also thanked sympathetic members of the public who’ve shown the zoo support during what’s been a very 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.
You are an awesome zoo. The zoo staff and fire and rescue teams are heroes for saving the animals. We love Chester Zoo and visit most weeks. What a terrible day it’s been.
— featherdiamond (@Josie46850678) December 15, 2018
Well done to all the staff at Chester Zoo for your quick actions in saving the wonderful creatures. And for the service you provide to this planet in helping to save species from extinction. I’ll happily volunteer to come and help if you need an extra hand as a lot of us would
— TJ (@p_c_l_f) December 15, 2018
My son says he’ll have a Rang Tang sleep in his bedroom tonight if one needs a warm place to sleep. So proud of our local zoo and their dedication and care for these amazing animals. Thank you.
— KLParr (@kerrylparr) December 15, 2018
The fire at Chester Zoo began on Saturday (December 15), with visitors told to evacuate. The zoo – which is home to over 21,000 animals – has today been reopened (December 16). As of yet, the cause of the fire remains unknown.
A JustGiving page has been set up for the zoo in the aftermath of the blaze, which at the time of writing, has already raised £45,404.83 of its £50,000 target.
A statement on the JustGiving page reads:
Following on from the fire in our Monsoon Forest habitat, we’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of people asking how they can support. Thank you so much for all your kind messages, they mean so much at this difficult time.
We remain committed to our mission to prevent extinction and for those who are asking how they can help, we would welcome a donation to our continuing conservation work.
You can make a donation for yourself here.
After this morning fire people have been asking what they can do to help. At the zoo, the care of our animals is at the heart off all we do. If you can please donate to the Chester Zoo campaign on @justgiving https://t.co/I2n4tBUqZs#ChesterZoo #ChesterZooFire
— John O' Hanlon 🔬🏳️🌈 (@JohnOHanlon93) December 15, 2018
After Yesterdays Fire at #ChesterZoo, a #Justgiving page is up & running to help raise funds, Please #donate by visiting this link : https://t.co/YuhBEZzz5x
The Fire broke out in Chester Zoo's Monsoon Forest habitat, they need your help to continue there super conservation work. pic.twitter.com/urIsBPu65I
— River Bank Books, Shropshire (@riverbankbooks) December 16, 2018
Hopefully the animals who’ve survived the fire won’t be stressed from their ordeal.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.