Monday 23 April 2018

Thirteen monkeys killed in safari park fire

Signage at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire where 13 Patas monkeys have died in a fire John Stillwell/PA Wire
Signage at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire where 13 Patas monkeys have died in a fire John Stillwell/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Thirteen monkeys have been killed in a fire at Woburn Safari Park.

The blaze broke out in the early hours of Tuesday in the Patas monkey house within the African Forest drive-through enclosure of the park in Bedfordshire.

A spokesman for the park said: "Staff and fire crews attended the scene; however, devastatingly for everyone at the park, none of the 13 animals could be saved."

All other animals within the jungle drive-through enclosure are being monitored, but early signs suggest they have not been affected.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the fire and the park will remain open.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze was spotted by security guards on a routine patrol before firefighters arrived at 2.37am.

"They found the outbuilding housing Patas monkeys was well alight and its roof had fallen in," it said in a statement.

"They fought the fire using fire hoses while wearing breathing apparatus to protect themselves from the smoke and fumes.

"The building was 90% damaged by the fire."

The fire service said the incident was over by 4.46am.

It comes after a blaze broke out in the animal adventure section at London Zoo on December 23, destroying the cafe, shop and around half of the adjacent petting zoo.

Misha, a nine-year-old aardvark, died from smoke inhalation, while four meerkats were also thought to have perished.

It is not yet known what caused either the London Zoo fire or the Woburn Safari Park blaze.

The park's website states that its troop of Patas monkeys shares a 16-acre enclosure with other species, but is housed at night during the winter months.

In the wild, the ground-dwelling monkeys are found in the grassland, open savannah and dry woodland of central Africa.

They can grow up to 34in (85cm) in length, with a 30in (75cm) tail, and can live for around 20 years.

Press Association

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