Germany zoo fire kills more than 30 animals sparked by sky lanterns

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 may have been sparked by the Chinese sky lanterns launched to welcome in the New Year.

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.

On the zoo’s Facebook page, the heartbreaking news spread quickly:

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.

We’ll be in touch with further information in a few hours.

An unbelievable tragedy rolled us shortly after midnight. Our human monkey house has burned down to the basic scaffolding. At the moment it is not known whether animals survived.
Currently (3.09 pm) the extinguishing work is still underway. The cause of fire is not known. The crime is investigating.

The Zoo will therefore be closed on January 1.

We thank you for all the numerous offers that have already reached us. Please understand that we can still in shock and not tell exactly if and where need help.”

The Ape House burned down killing five orangutans, two gorillas, a chimpanzee, monkeys, fruit bats and birds. Two chimpanzees were rescued by firefighters. The animals suffered burns and are being treated. They have been listed in fair condition.

“It’s close to a miracle that Bally, a 40-year-old female chimpanzee, and Limbo, a younger male, survived this inferno,” the zoo posted.

Many of the dead animals were close to extinction. According to CbsNews, the Gorilla Garden near the Ape House missed the flames; Kidogo, a gorilla and six other members of his family were all spared and not injured.

The use of sky lanterns is illegal in Krefeld and most of Germany although fireworks are legal and available to the public. The lanterns are made of paper and use the same basics as hot air balloons. Investigators have already found used lanterns on the ground and are asking the people who launched them to come forward.

Just a few hours ago, an update had been posted:

“fire destroyed monkey house completely – two chimpanzees survived ***

Like a miracle, the chimpanzees bally and limbo survived the devastating fire. They are only slightly injured and are now housed in two boxes in the gorilla garden. You are taken care of by several zoo vets.

We would like to thank you on this way for the overwhelming wave of compassion and assistance that reach us on all channels. This is what our employees wear. We also thank you for the solidarity in social networks. We read everything, but we can’t manage to respond to it yet.

At the moment, active help at the fire site is not possible, as the house is at risk of collapse and as a crime scene of brandsachmen and the crime is locked off.

We are grateful for donations at all levels. In the future, the human monkey attitude will be a focus and we will build a new house.

If you want to donate, here are our donation accounts.

Krefeld zoo ggmbh
Sparkasse Krefeld
Iban: 41 3205 0000 0000 0070 70
Bic: spkrde33xxx
Purpose: donation monkey house

Zoo friends krefeld
Sparkasse Krefeld
Iban: De42 3205 0000 0000 3177 43
Bic: spkrde33
Purpose: donation monkey house

The zoo will remain closed on New Year’s Day.

Rest in peace.

(Photo of Kidogo who survived – via Facebook)

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