Chester zoo is home to more than 20,000 animals and a sudden fire in the Monsoon Forest area destroyed large portions of the roof. It led to the evacuation of visitors and the loss of many exhibits especially birds, frogs, and fish. Some of these belonged to exotic species. The affected area housed orangutans, crocodiles, turtles, and a variety of birds and the design of the habitat resembled the environment of Southeast Asia. The zoo has described the incident as "one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo's long history."

Sky News reports it was possible to find all the mammals within a reasonable time of the fire breaking out but it was not possible to save some types of fish and small birds.

Zookeepers managed to coax all species of mammals away from the danger zones. These included animals like orangutans, macaques, and gibbons. Chester Zoo has launched a fundraising campaign to rebuild the losses.

Source of the fire is not known

The incident happened in the morning and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived within 11.30 minutes. They declared it a major incident but the source of the fire was not established. One visitor, who was in the monsoon enclosure, suggested it could be an electrical fire. He added - "It spread very quickly."

The authorities of Chester Zoo lamented their inability to save all exhibits, especially the small ones like birds, fish, and insects.

Conservationists had devoted their time and effort to breed these species and their loss hurts. The authorities have announced that they would welcome donations from the public to help in their activities related to the conservation of the animals and there is a favorable response. In fact, there are people who love to keep exotic animals as pets.

Incidentally, last year a fire in London Zoo killed five animals.

Relocating the animals is a priority

BBC adds that Chester Zoo opened in 1931 and is the most visited zoo in the UK. It boasts of more than two million footfalls every year. The Monsoon Forest habitat opened in 2015 as an added attraction. It is the UK's largest zoological building and is spread over an area of 14-acres and maintains an environment that tries to impart similarities to conditions that prevail in South East Asia.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established but it destroyed large portions of the roof. While the majority of large animals are accounted for, but many of the smaller species like birds, fish, and insects are lost. The zoo has to arrange alternative habitats for the animals that have survived. Fires destroy the environment and leads to loss of habitat for not only the people but also wildlife and birds.