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Chester Zoo staff 'devastated' after fire

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Media captionMembers of the public filmed the fire as it took hold

Chester Zoo says it is "devastated" by the loss of some of its animals in a fire.

The blaze broke out in the Monsoon Forest area on Saturday, destroying much of its roof.

Orangutans, macaques, gibbons and larger birds were saved, but some frogs, fish, insects and small birds died.

Cheshire Fire said the blaze was "accidental" but it needed more time to determine the exact cause.

An online appeal launched by the zoo, which reopened on Sunday, has raised more than £100,000 in 24 hours - double its target.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The fire broke out on Saturday morning

The tourism attraction, which has more than 21,000 animals, said all the creatures led to safety were being relocated within the 125-acre site and described the loss of others as "heartbreaking".

Jamie Christon, the zoo's chief operating officer, said in a statement: "Yesterday was one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo's long history.

"Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety - including the zoo's group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.

"We are though, devastated to say that we were unable to save some of our insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The zoo has more than 21,000 animals
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Orangutans at the zoo were among those saved

More than 15 fire crews and ambulance staff attended after the blaze broke out just before 11:30 GMT on Saturday.

One person was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

Lee Shears, the incident commander from Cheshire Fire, said crews "saved a significant portion of the building, which is good news for the zoo and their plans".

The zoo said it had been inundated with messages and donations from members of the public.

Mr Christon wrote: "The strength and support from the public has been incredibly overwhelming and the messages of goodwill have been of great comfort to our teams.

"We will support each other in rebuilding this part of the zoo and continue our mission of preventing extinction."

Image caption The zoo officially opened in 1931 and hosts about 500 species

The zoo said an investigation would take place over the coming weeks and the Monsoon Forest area and Islands zone remain shut.

The Monsoon Forest habitat is the UK's largest zoological building, according to the attraction. It opened in August 2015.

The 14-acre section has its own climate, with temperatures reaching 26.6C to replicate conditions in South East Asia.

Image copyright David Clough
Image caption The fire broke out in the Monsoon Forest area

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