At Least 30 Animals Dead In New Year’s Eve Fire At German Zoo
Krefeld Zoo, in northwestern Germany, said there were 'no surviving animals' in the monkey house, with police saying that at least 30 animals have died.
However, the zoo confirmed that some creatures had thankfully managed to survive the horrific blaze.
Local media reports that the fire may have been caused by fireworks or a sky lantern, but the zoo has said the cause remains unknown as police search for clues.
Quoting officials, the DPA news agency said the dead animals included chimpanzees, orangutans and two gorillas, as well as fruit bats and birds.
Announcing the heartbreaking news on Facebook, the zoo said: "An unbelievable tragedy rolled us shortly after midnight. Our human monkey house has burned down to the basic scaffolding. At the moment it is not known whether animals survived.
"Currently (3.09 pm) the extinguishing work is still underway. The cause of fire is not known. The crime is being investigated.
"The Zoo will therefore be closed on January 1.
"We thank you for all the numerous offers that have already reached us. Please understand that we are still in shock and cannot tell exactly if and where we need help."
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A later update, posted a couple of hours later, said that a silverback gorilla and his family had survived, but that animals in the monkey house hadn't been so lucky.
It said: "Our worst fears have become reality. There are no surviving animals in the monkey house.
"The Gorilla Garden has been spared. Kidogo and his family are fine."
The zoo, which is near the Dutch border and opened in 1938, specialises in primates but also houses various other animals including big cats and tropical birds.
It is home to around 1,000 animals, not including insects, with 159 species and a further 50 species of butterfly.
According to its website, Krefeld receives around 318,430 day visitors and 17,650 annual ticket holders a year, and the zoo is run by 65 employees and 21 volunteers.
The monkey house, which was badly hit in the fire, opened back in 1975 and went on to feature enclosures for orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, marmosets, epaulette flying foxes and birds.
Featured Image Credit: PA