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Donations target smashed after animals die in Chester Zoo fire

Donations to fire-hit Chester Zoo have more than doubled the target after it was confirmed not all animals could be saved from the blaze that ripped through its rainforest attraction.

The rush of financial support came as the the zoo's chief operating officer confirmed insects, frogs, fish and small birds died on what he described as "one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo’s long history".

Over £100,000 was raised as public generosity saw the JustGiving appeal surpass the £50,000 target on Sunday to help fund the Monsoon Forest recovery from Saturday's fire.

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Chester Zoo confirm animals died in the fire

This is their heartbreaking statement:

A message from us…

Yesterday was one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo’s long history. The remarkable efforts from the zoo team and the emergency services meant the fire was extinguished as quickly as possible.

Visitors were evacuated immediately and we would like to thank them for their understanding and cooperation. Thankfully, no staff or public were harmed in the incident.

Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety - including the zoo’s group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.

We are though, devastated to say that we were unable to save some of our insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire. It’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.

New homes have been found within the zoo for all of the animals that were led to safety and our teams are working around the clock to relocate them as soon as possible.

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 cause of the fire is currently unknown, but we will be helping the relevant authorities with the investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks. We would again, like to thank the emergency services for their swift response.

Jamie Christon – Chief Operating Officer

Please refer to our website and social media pages for accurate information. We will continue update you with more details as soon as we have them. ------------ Many of you have expressed that you would like to come along to the zoo to show your support, so we are able to confirm that the zoo will be open today, Sunday 15 December. Monsoon Forest and our Islands zone will remain closed as our conservationists and vets continue to provide expert care and attention to the species there.

The Lanterns event will go ahead this evening (Sunday 15 December) as planned.

As a result of the overwhelming numbers of people asking how they can donate to support our work as a conservation charity in light of the fire, a Just Giving page has been set up here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/monsoonforest

Thank you to everyone who has donated. Of course, we will be working with our insurers regarding the building damage but the generosity of our supporters will help us to recover our conservation efforts for threatened species as we fight against extinction.

– Chester Zoo

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