Family admits to setting off sky lanterns which killed 30 zoo animals

A devastating fire in Western Germany Zoo Krefeld  in the first moments of 2020 killed more than 30 animals including apes, monkeys, bats and birds. Police say the fire had been sparked by  Chinese sky lanterns launched to welcome in the New Year. On New Years’ Day, the three suspects responsible for the fire surrendered to the police in Krefeld.

Witnesses in the area stated they had seen the paper lanterns with small fires inside flying in the sky over the zoo at low altitude and then it started burning.

“Update:
5.50 pm 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 suspects, three women which included the mother, 60, and her two adult daughter launched the paper lanterns despite a ban on the objects they had ordered online without a permit. According to the Daily Mail, the women surrendered themselves into the police after learning of the disaster that killed 30 animals including a silverback gorilla, a chimpanzee, several monkeys and fruit bats and birds.

Police Chief Gerd Hoppman described the women as “completely normal” who seemed very remorseful. The women face five years in prison and a hefty fine if found guilty of the charges.

Read prior coverage here.

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