Aardvark dead and four meerkats missing after London Zoo fire

The fire broke out shortly after 6am at the Animal Adventure section before spreading to an adjacent gift shop and cafe

One aardvark has died and four meerkats are missing after a fire at London Zoo. More than 70 firefighters tackled the fire, which broke out shortly after 6am at the Animal Adventure section before spreading to an adjacent shop and cafe. Reuters

 

One aardvark has died and four meerkats are missing after a fire at London Zoo. A spokesman for the zoo confirmed the death of Misha, and said that it was currently not possible to say what had happened to the animals unaccounted for.

The fire broke out shortly after 6am at the Animal Adventure section before spreading to an adjacent gift shop and cafe, near an area where visitors can handle and feed animals, the zoo and London Fire Brigade said.

Staff on duty moved animals to safety and the fire was brought under control about three hours later.

London Zoo is seen on fireon December 23rd, 2017 in this image taken from video footage obtained from social media. Photograph: Brendan Cooney/via REUTERS
London Zoo is seen on fireon December 23rd, 2017 in this image taken from video footage obtained from social media. Photograph: Brendan Cooney/via REUTERS

“A number of zoo staff have been treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and shock,” the zoo said in a statement. “Our staff are now in the process of assessing the situation in difficult conditions. At present one aardvark is currently unaccounted for.”

The zoo, located in Regent’s Park in central London, said it would be remain closed until further notice.

The attraction, the world’s oldest scientific zoo which dates it origins back to 1826, houses 20,166 animals, according to its inventory for 2017.

Firefighters spray each other down before entering an area to survey the damage after a fire destroyed a number of buildings at London Zoo on December 23rd, 2017. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Firefighters spray each other down before entering an area to survey the damage after a fire destroyed a number of buildings at London Zoo on December 23rd, 2017. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The fire brigade said it had sent 10 fire engines and 72 firefighters to the scene, adding the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

“The fire mainly affected the cafe and shop,” said Station Manager Clive Robinson. “Part of nearby animal petting area was also affected although at this stage we don’t know if any animals were involved.” – Reuters