Meerkats presumed dead in London Zoo fire were brothers
The blaze in the “animal adventure” section destroyed the cafe, shop and around half the adjacent petting zoo.
The four meerkats presumed to have died after a fire broke out at London Zoo were brothers.
In a statement, Dominic Jermey, director general for the Zoological Society of London, said they were called Robbie, Norman, Billy and Nigel.
Misha, a nine-year-old aardvark, also perished in the blaze.
An initial post-mortem showed she most likely died from smoke inhalation whilst sleeping.
“The efforts of staff and emergency services, and the strength of support from the public, has been humbling. On a desperately tough day, it was a wonderful reminder of the place the Zoo holds in the hearts of so many.” @DomJermey, Director General, ZSL https://t.co/Mgy5WdGz5F— ZSL London Zoo (@zsllondonzoo) December 24, 2017
Mr Jermey said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters of support from all over the country – these kind and generous messages range from families offering to give up their Christmas Day to help us clean up, to offers from local builders to rebuild the enclosures for us.
“On a desperately tough day, it was a wonderful reminder of the place the zoo holds in the hearts and minds of so many. Thank you to everyone who cares for London Zoo as much as we do.”
The fire broke out at approximately 6am on Saturday in the Animal Adventure section of the zoo, destroying the cafe, shop and around half the adjacent petting zoo, London Fire Brigade said.
The zoo was closed for the day, leaving families who had tickets for the Meet Santa experience unable to attend.
Crews faced arduous conditions and a highly developed fire when they tackled this blaze at #LondonZoo which sadly claimed the life of Misha the aardvark https://t.co/VqBLKKnRDR © @PaulWood1961 pic.twitter.com/JEZNhen5Ko— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) December 24, 2017
On Twitter the zoo told visitors who had booked to enter Santa’s grotto that they would be offered a refund.
The world-famous attraction reopened to visitors on Christmas Eve.
Keepers who live on site were on the scene immediately after the fire broke out on Saturday and started moving animals to safety.
Some staff were treated for smoke inhalation and shock at the scene, and one firefighter was taken to hospital as a precaution after suffering a minor wrist injury.
More than 70 firefighters attended the incident, which was brought under control by 9.16am.
London Fire Brigade station manager David George said it was not currently known what caused the fire.
He told the Press Association: “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.”