More than 30 animals died in a massive fire that broke out in ‘monkey house’ at Krefeld Zoo, above, in Germany past midnight on Wednesday as the neighbourhood was ushering in the New Year with fireworks, German media reports say.
Seven gorillas living in a nearby enclosure had a miraculous escape as the fire did not spread there.
The blaze tore through the ‘monkey house’ killing all animals living in that enclosure.
Among the dead were chimpanzees, orang-utans, two gorillas, birds and flying foxes.
The cause of the fire is not known but police suspect it started from the sky lanterns.
Media reports said the fireworks may have sparked the zoo blaze.
The zoo authorities said their worst fears came true as all animals in the monkey house perished in the fire.
Calling the incident an “inconceivable tragedy” on the zoo’s Facebook page, they said the employees were still in deep shock.
The fire service said they received calls around 12.40am local time and arrived at the zoo within minutes. By then, the raging fire had almost consumed the monkey house.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Krefeld Zoo to see the elephants, leopards, rhinos and monkeys, besides other animals.
The monkey house was inaugurated in 1975.