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Krefeld Zoo fire: Animal death toll rises

Kristie Pladson
February 17, 2020

As demolition of the devastated monkey house begins, the city in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia has said that many more animals died in the tragic fire than originally reported.

Aerial view of the burned out monkey house at the Krefeld Zoo in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Reichwein

Demolition of the monkey house devastated in a New Year's Eve fire at the Krefeld zoo in North Rhine-Westphalia was to get underway on Monday, as German media revealed there were more animal casualties than previously reported. 

Authorities had originally said "more than 30" animals were killed in the devastating blaze. Germany news agency DPA on Monday, citing a city report, said more than 50 animals died.

Police say the fire was caused by airborne lanterns released by three women celebrating the new year. The lanterns, which are illegal in Germany, landed on the monkey house, subsequently lighting it on fire.

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. 

Read more: German apes likely traumatized after animal deaths in Krefeld Zoo fire

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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