Chester zoo fire: £123,000 raised from appeal

Chester zoo say they are “devastated” after a fire on Saturday which resulted in the deaths of small birds, fish and frogs – as an appeal raises £123,000 following the blaze.

No visitors, staff or mammal species were harmed in the fire. The mammals – including critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and endangered silvery gibbons – have been rehomed within the zoo.

The zoo reopened on Sunday and the cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The Cheshire fire and rescue service were called to the zoo shortly before 11.30am, and declared a major incident. The fire affected the Monsoon Forest zone, and visitors were evacuated as the fire spread through the roof. The Monsoon Forest zone was opened in 2015. 

The Guardian reports that armed police officers were on hand in case any dangerous animals escaped.

Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement: “It’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.”

A JustGiving page set up by the zoo has received over £123,000 from 6911 supporters since the fire. Over £50,000 was raised in the first 24 hours following the fire.

Christon said: “The strength and support from the public has been incredibly overwhelming and the messages of goodwill have been of great comfort to our teams. We will support each other in rebuilding this part of the zoo and continue our mission of preventing extinction.”

The money will go towards recovering conservation efforts for threatened species.

Last year, Chester Zoo unveiled a vision that will take it into 2030. The plan includes vast themed zones that will provide excellent habitats for animals, especially endangered species, as well as improve the visitor experience.