Chester Zoo have said yesterday was ‘one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo’s long history’, with a crowdfunder passing the £40k mark 24 hours later.
The Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer Jamie Christon has said in their latest statement: “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.
“New homes have been found within the zoo for all of the animals that were led to safety and our teams are working around the clock to relocate them as soon as possible.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, with relevant authorities conducting an investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks.
The Zoo has partially reopened today, however the Monsoon Forest and Islands zone will remain closed as conservationists and vets continue to provide expert care and attention to the species there. The Lanterns event will go ahead this evening as planned.
As a result of the ‘overwhelming numbers’ of people asking how they can donate to support the work of the Zoo as a conservation charity in light of the fire, a Just Giving page has been set up here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/monsoonforest
The Zoo added: “Thank you to everyone who has donated. Of course, we will be working with our insurers regarding the building damage but the generosity of our supporters will help us to recover our conservation efforts for threatened species as we fight against extinction.”
Top pic: A shot from our last visit to the zoo!