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Fire in German zoo’s monkey enclosure kills majority of animals

A fire in a German zoo’s monkey enclosure killed the majority of the animals Wednesday at about midnight, the zoo announced. 

The Krefeld Zoo said scores of animals are dead after its Monkey House caught fire at about midnight. Only two chimpanzees named Bally and Limbo survived the blaze “like a miracle” and were slightly injured, according to a Facebook post from the zoo.

Zoo director Wolfgang Dressen said in a press conference that it was “the hardest day that Krefeld Zoo has ever had,” according to CNN.

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“For us it is especially tragic that the tenants of this house, birds and mammals, were victims of the fire last night,” he said. “Among them were highly endangered monkeys like orangutans from Borneo, lowland gorillas from Central Africa and chimpanzees from West Africa.”

The zoo originally posted on Facebook that no animals survived the fire, saying “Our worst fears have become reality.” The Krefeld Zoo said the Gorilla Garden, including gorilla Kidoga and his family, is safe and alive, and the chimpanzees were moved there. The zoo will be closed Wednesday.

Police have not determined the cause of the fire, but local police have said there are “indications” of what sparked the flame. 

Krefeld Police spokesman Gerd Hoppman said in the media conference that witnesses saw sky lanterns “flying close to the zoo and very low, so we can assume they fell on the ground in this area,” according to CNN. He added an investigation has been launched to ultimately conclude the cause. 

Some local outlets reported that New Year’s fireworks sparked the fire, but that has not been confirmed, according to BBC and CBS.

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