After the fire in the Krefeld Zoo with several dead great apes, possible causes have reported to the police. "The police have interrogated the people and will check their information," said the investigators. Since the review takes some time, no further information about the circumstances of the crime and the suspects would be given. The zoo is also closed on Thursday.
The police suspect that a sky lantern could have started the fire on New Year's Eve. These floating lamps are prohibited in Germany. Several of them, some with handwritten notes on them, were in Krefeld been ensured. According to the Krefeld police headquarters, the suspects turned to the investigators after a press conference on the fire in the Lower Rhine city.
The fire Department reported that residents had the fire at 0.38 a.m.
informed. The emergency services are on site a few minutes later
been, but when they arrived the monkey house was already in full
Caught fire. A spreading over to adjacent zoo parts was prevented, however, according to head of operations Kai Günther "nothing could be saved" at the monkey house.
The fire had completely destroyed the monkey tropical house of the Krefeld Zoo. According to the zoo, almost all of the animals that lived in the approximately 2,000 square meter building died in the fire. "Our worst fears have become a reality," the zoo reported on its Facebook page early Wednesday morning.
Two chimpanzees survived
More than 30 animals have died in the flames, including eight great apes, as zoo director Wolfgang Dreßen said. Accordingly, five Borneo orangutans, a West African chimpanzee and two lowland gorillas were killed. In the house opened in 1975, which burned down to the basic structure,
lived alongside orangutans, chimpanzees and two old gorillas
Information from the zoo website
marmosets and rodents of the genus Aguti as well as free-flying
Birds and epaulet fruit bats. These animals also died in the fire. The zoo wants to present an exact balance sheet at a later date. Among the dead animals is the oldest breeding gorilla in Europe, the 48-year-old Massa.
The head of operations said that it was actually assumed that no animal could survive the fire. However, after hearing noises from the building, firefighters went in together with Zoomit workers. "It borders on a miracle: two chimpanzees survived this fire moloch," said zoo director Dreßen. These are the older female Bally and the young male Limbo. Both suffered only minor burn injuries and were housed in a previously unused enclosure in the gorilla garden, which is adjacent to the monkey house.
For Bally and Limbo, the incident means "extreme trauma," said Dreßen. The animals living in the gorilla garden were also "badly affected". At the moment, however, they were unremarkable.
The zoo's gorilla garden, where western lowland gorillas are kept, was spared by the flames, the zoo said. A young gorilla family with seven members survived the fire in the outdoor enclosure adjacent to the monkey house, the zoo announced.
Sky lanterns were probably the trigger
The fire was probably triggered by sky lanterns. Witnesses testified that they saw such lanterns in the sky around the zoo on New Year's Eve, said Gerd Hoppmann of the Krefeld criminal police at the press conference. The investigators had also found three such sky lanterns on the ground nearby.
Sky or wish lanterns consist of thin tissue paper and a candle or a container with fuel paste in the middle. If ignited, they can float far through the air. Hoppmann emphasized that the lanterns have been banned in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2009.
The investigation was still ongoing. "With reservation" it seems "very obvious that these torches are the cause," said Hoppmann. There is a close temporal connection between the sighting of the lanterns and the reporting of fire on the roof of the monkey house. If the presumption is confirmed, negligent arson should be assumed.
Tierschutzbund calls for ban zones for fireworks
The German Animal Welfare Association called for a fireworks ban zone around zoos. The lighting of fireworks must also be prohibited near animal shelters and farms, said the animal welfare association's conservation expert, James Brückner.
A majority of Germans had spoken out in favor of a firmer ban before New Year's Eve. In a survey published by the newspapers of the editorial network Germany, 57 percent of the Germans surveyed by the opinion research institute YouGov were in favor of banning firecrackers at the turn of the year. 36 percent were against such a ban, seven percent were undecided. Environmentalists, in particular, advocate giving up fireworks at the turn of the year.