Chester Zoo has released a statement following yesterday’s fire.
The zoo confirmed this morning (16/12/18) that while staff were able to account for all of the mammals, they were unable to save some of the insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire.
Staff and visitors to the zoo have expressed their devastation, and a JustGiving page has been set up to raise funds to help support the zoo in the wake of the tragedy.
At the time of writing (1.30pm) more than £65,000 had been raised and a Chester Zoo spokesperson commented: “We’re totally overwhelmed by the love and concern from everyone wanting to help in any way they can.”
They added: “Thank you so much for your kindness. Our teams have been working around the clock and knowing how much support there is behind them has made this awful time a little easier to bear.
“Thank you so much for all your kind messages, they mean so much at this difficult time.”
The zoo’s 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 co-operation. 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 al of the animals that were led to safety and our teams are working around the clock to relocate them as soon as possible.
“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 cause of the fire is currently unknown, but we will be helping the relevant authorities with the investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks. We would again, like to thank the emergency services for their swift response.”
Chester Zoo will be open today, Sunday 16th December, 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 also go ahead as planned this evening.
The zoo’s Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/monsoonforest