London Zoo fire toll: 1 aardvark dead, 4 meerkats presumed dead

2017-12-23 22:59


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London — Firefighters and zookeepers rushed to help as a blaze broke out at the London Zoo on Saturday morning, but they were unable to save an aardvark named Misha and four meerkats.

Officials said Misha died in the fire and the four missing meerkats were presumed to have perished as well.

Staff members were treated for smoke inhalation and shock after the blaze broke out near a zoo cafe in the early morning hours.

Staffers living onsite rushed to move animals as quickly as they could in the frenzied minutes after the fire started, but they were too late to aid Misha, a 9-year-old aardvark.

Zoo director Dominic Jermey said the staff was "absolutely devastated" by the aardvark's death.

"We had our vet team on site immediately but sadly there was nothing that they could do for Misha," he said.

Workers searched in vain for the four missing meerkats throughout the day, but said Saturday evening they were presumed to have died in the blaze, which produced intense flames at first and left a smoky pall over much of the grounds.

Vets were called in to monitor the surviving animals and zookeepers were encouraged that there were no other signs of injury.

The zoo remained closed to the public on what had been expected to be a busy day at the popular facility in Regent's Park. It is set to reopen Sunday.

TV footage from the scene showed the Adventure Cafe and shop to be badly damaged. The fire started shortly after 06:00 GMT. It took 72 firefighters just over three hours to extinguish the fire.

London Fire Brigade station manager David George said the cause of the fire hasn't been established.

"Over the next few hours our specialist fire investigation teams will be searching through the debris and looking and seeing if they can establish a likely cause," he said.

Read more on:    uk  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.