England: Fire at London Zoo kills aardvark, meerkats believed dead

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fire broke out at London Zoo on Saturday morning, severely damaging a cafe and shop and killing an aardvark. Zoo officials said four meerkats were missing and were also presumed to be dead.

The fire, mostly in the Animal Adventure cafe and shop, also spread to a nearby petting area. Reportedly, 72 firefighters with ten fire engines fought the blaze for about three hours starting shortly after 6:00 am to bring it under control. A spokesperson for the Fire Brigade stated that when they arrived, the fire was already "very well developed". According to the ambulance service, two people were treated for minor injuries, six for smoke inhalation, with one taken to hospital. A statement from the zoo said, regarding animal fatalities, "Sadly our vets have confirmed the death of our nine-year-old aardvark, Misha. There are also four meerkats unaccounted for at this stage, and we have limited access to site to confirm this." Other animals were said to be apparently unaffected.

The zoo reported quick response by zoo security guards and by animal care staff who are housed at the zoo, which is in Regents Park; they moved animals to safety. A dog walker, Adnan Abdul Husein, told the BBC he had first noticed heavy smoke and alerted zoo security guards.

Zoo officials initially said the zoo would be closed "until further notice" but later announced it would reopen today, Christmas Eve.


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