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Aardvark dies and meerkats missing after ZSL London Zoo fire

Duty staff who live on site were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety, a spokeswoman for the zoo said.

Four meerkats missing after a fire at ZSL London Zoo are presumed dead.

Nine-year-old Misha the aardvark, who shared an enclosure with the meerkats, was earlier confirmed dead.

The fire broke out at approximately 6am on Saturday in the Animal Adventure section of the zoo, and spread to an adjacent shop.

Dominic Jermey, director general for ZSL, told the Press Association: “We are absolutely devastated that Misha has passed away.

“We had our vet team on site immediately but sadly there was nothing that they could do for Misha.”

A zoo spokeswoman said the four meerkats, who are unaccounted for as a result of limited access to the site, were presumed dead.

She said the zoo, which was closed on Saturday, would reopen on Christmas Eve.

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(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Keepers who live on site were on the scene immediately after the fire broke out and started moving animals to safety.

Some of the staff were treated for smoke inhalation and shock at the scene.

Mr Jermey said: “Given the circumstances they are fine but they, like all of us, are absolutely devastated by this incident today.”

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Misha, an aardvark who died in a fire (ZSL/PA)

More than 70 firefighters attended the incident, which was brought under control by 9.16am.

All other animals in the vicinity of the blaze are being monitored by vets, and early signs suggest they have not been affected.

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(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

London Fire Brigade station manager David George said it is not currently known what caused the fire.

He told the Press Association: “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 for the fire.”

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