Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Five Sisters Zoo fire: Donations reach £90,000

The blaze destroyed the reptile house at the zoo
Image caption The blaze destroyed the reptile house at the zoo

Donations to a West Lothian zoo where a number of animals died in a huge blaze have reached £90,000.

A fire broke out in the tropical house of the Five Sisters Zoo in the early hours of 14 April.

At least 50 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height but many animals were killed.

After the fire the zoo set up a fund to deal with the volume of calls from members of the public wanting to donate money to the West Calder attraction.

The money will go towards a new tropical house.

The zoo said the public response was "totally overwhelming" and had helped it through a difficult time.

Lesley Coupar, of marketing and visitor services at the family-run zoo, said: "It's just absolutely amazing. We've put it into a separate fund and we're keeping that specifically for the new-build.

"This has carried us through the last few months. We've now got a spring in our step, we've really got a much more positive attitude.

"We just didn't have any idea how both the local population and the wider population felt about the zoo."

Ms Coupar said donations ranged from 50p from children's pocket money to £1,500 from a boy who organised a sponsored conga.

Scots singing star Susan Boyle has also backed the zoo with two visits and a donation.

New otter

The visitor attraction has received several offers of free building work and materials, which it is hoped will help to limit the overall costs.

The fire completely destroyed the tropical house and the immediate buildings around it.

Snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises and an ant colony were among the creatures which perished in the blaze. In total, 48 different species were lost.

A male otter has been donated to the zoo by Hoo Farm in Shropshire as company to the female otter which lost its partner.

The surviving meerkats are also back in their enclosures.

Fire investigations ruled that the cause of the fire was inconclusive although suspicious circumstances have been ruled out.

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