Species of animals killed in devastating Chester Zoo fire confirmed

Details of the animals that were killed at Chester Zoo in a devastating blaze have been revealed.

Several creatures died when flamed ripped through the Monsoon forest enclosure on Saturday.

Breeds include question mark cockroaches, Amano shrimps, betta hendra fish, cinnamon frogs, tentacled snakes and grosbeak starlings.

Manchester Evening News reports that bosses at the Cheshire based zoo previously told how keepers guided the six orangutans, four gibbons and 18 macaques away from the flames by tempting them with bananas.

Some orangutans were also seen wrapping themselves in their ‘comfort blankets’ as they fled.

But in statement released this afternoon, the zoo confirmed details of the ‘small number of species we were unable to save’.

Jamie Christon, the zoo’s chief operating officer, said: "Saturday 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 and all visitors safely evacuated.

"All of our mammal species – such as critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and even birds such as rhinoceros hornbills were led to safety by our conservationists in partnership with the emergency services.

"However, now that our teams have started to assess the site, we are devastated to confirm the small number of species that we were unable to save.

"These include a number of question mark cockroaches, Amano shrimps, betta hendra fish, cinnamon frogs, tentacled snakes and birds such as grosbeak starlings.

"These animals were all part of conservation breeding programmes and we will look to be part of those vital projects once again in the near future.

"In a more positive light, 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 those animals and get them settled.

"Our conservationists will continue to move animals into their new habitats over the coming days.

"Some species such as the Sunda gharial crocodiles, painted batagur turtles and giant Asian pond turtles remain inside Monsoon Forest in an area unaffected by the fire, and are in good health.

"The investigation into the fire and its cause is ongoing, and we will continue to work hand in hand with the relevant authorities in the coming days and weeks.

"As a world class visitor attraction, we are fully insured and we will be working with our insurers as we look to start rebuilding the UK’s largest zoological building, Monsoon Forest.

"And finally, the whole Chester Zoo team have been humbled by the incredible amount of support and kindness from the local community, our members, visitors and the general public.

"On one of the toughest days, it reminded us all that the zoo holds a very special place in the hearts of so many people, and lifted spirits of the whole team here.

"We have been overwhelmed by the amount of spontaneous donations made to the Just Giving page.

"The generosity has been truly humbling and all the money given will go directly towards our conservation projects both here in the zoo, and around the world.

"As a wildlife conservation charity, we will continue our mission to prevent extinction."

Emergency services declared the fire, which broke out at about 11.30am, a ‘major incident’.

At its height, around 75 firefighters battled the blaze, which caused significant damage to the entrance area and first floor visitors walkway.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze has now been launched, but fire chiefs say it’s believed to have been started accidentally.

Meanwhile a JustGiving page set up following the blaze has reached £120,000.

The money will be used to help fund conservation projects, the zoo has said, because the costs of rebuilding the Monsoon Forest habitat will be covered by insurance.

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