Demolition of destroyed ape house in German zoo following fire finds more animal casualties

Zoo officials say almost double the number of casualties as previously thought have been discovered during the demolition of a facility destroyed by fire New Year’s Eve.

Initially authorities thought 30 animals were killed at the Krefeld zoo in North Rhine-Westphalia.

But during demolition of the primate house, officials found more animals had been killed, bringing the total up to about 50. Originally zoo officials say they believe 30 animals were killed when three airborne lanterns, which are illegal in Germany, were released by three women during New Year’s Eve festivities.

After the fire that killed the animals and destroyed the habitat, the interior ministry of the state said that researchers searching through the burnt remains of the primate house found a gorilla and a female orangutan still alive in the rubble.

The severely burned primates were too injured to recover. The orangutan was euthanized but because the gorilla was unable to be euthanized, a police officer shot and killed the animal with a shotgun.

Among the victims were eight chimpanzees as well as orangutans, gorillas, marmosets, and a variety of other monkeys. Many tropical birds were also killed.

Two chimpanzees managed to survive the fire. The zoo has said the animals are recovering.

The demolition of the devastated ape house will begin with the removal of the damaged roof, the city said in its report, which was presented on 6 February. The job, which requires the use of several cranes, will be “a particular challenge, which will eventually require relocating the grey kangaroos in the neighboring exhibit.”

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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