Chester Zoo ‘Devastated’ After Confirming Animals Were Killed In Huge Fire

Statement from Chester Zoo released.
Chester Zoo has confirmed some animals have died during the huge fire which left 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 has 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.

Mr. Christon added:

''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.

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 have shown the zoo support during what has 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.''

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 Just Giving 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.

Our thoughts are with all members of staff at Chester Zoo as they continue with their conservation efforts following this upsetting news.