A fire in Krefeld Zoo in Germany killed most of the animals in the tropical monkey sanctuary. The dead included a large number of primates like gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees. Local residents noticed the fire and raised an alarm. When fire fighting teams reached the spot, they discovered the enclosure engulfed in flames and had difficulty in containing it. Only the skeleton of its structure remained. Authorities are investigating and believe the source of the fire to be Chinese sky lanterns. It is possible that these were released during New Year’s Eve celebrations and might have strayed into the zoo.

The Guardian says the zoo’s management initially advised via a social media platform that “There are no surviving animals in the monkey house.” Later it emerged that the fire had spared a nearby open-air gorilla enclosure. The good news was that some of its important and beloved exhibits were safe. It will not be easy to make good the loss and the locals will have to bear with the tragedy. The authorities will have to rebuild the infrastructure first before they can procure a new set of animals. Until such time, there will be a huge void.

History of the Krefeld Zoo

The Krefeld Zoo opened in 1975 and had a large collection of not only great apes but also an attractive mix of other animals and birds.

Such places attract visitors who love to observe them from close quarters in the midst of nature. Moreover, any zoo has a special attraction for children. German media reports indicate the loss of more than 30 animals in the zoo fire tragedy. During a press conference, the police suggested that the fire started from Chinese sky lanterns.

There are restrictions on releasing them in the city and witnesses said they had seen some low-flying lanterns. In fact, a few of them landed in the vicinity of the zoo.

The Guardian says launching rockets and firecrackers in the streets is normal during the New Year’s Eve celebration in Germany.

This is permissible under the present laws. However, those who engage in such activities must take care to ensure that these do not lead to hazardous situations and endanger lives and property.

Fire in a German zoo kills almost all its primates

According to the BBC, a fire in the zoo destroyed an enclosure and it resulted in the loss of almost all its primates. The zoo housed a wide variety of orangutans, chimpanzees, and marmosets who occupied the monkey house. In the opinion of the police, the cause of the fire might have been Chinese or "sky" lanterns that people release to celebrate New Year. These are fire hazards and banned in the country. It seems there were reports of them flying at a low altitude near the zoo. Investigators have come across them near the burnt down enclosure.