In a fire that started shortly after midnight on New Year's Day, dozens of animals were killed and a monkey enclosure burned down in a zoo in Krefeld. Local officials said the flame may have been caused by flying lanterns.
The Krefeld Zoo said on Wednesday on its Facebook page that the fire had torn out the enclosure and called it an "incredible tragedy". Hours later, the zoo said only two monkeys had survived and were slightly injured.
"The chimpanzees Bally and Limbo miraculously survived the devastating fire," said the zoo.
Karin Kretzer, a spokeswoman for North Rhine-Westphalia The police in Krefeld reported that at least 30 animals had died and the officials are still investigating the exact number and cause of the fire. She said no people were reported injured.
She said the flame was reported at about 12:40 a.m. local time and could have been caused by flying lanterns that she said were prohibited in Germany, but which people sometimes still use celebrate New Years. Three lanterns were found near the source of the fire, she said.
The zoo's website shows that orangutans, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas, rodents, marmosets and birds lived in its ape house. Visitors to the house, which took up an area of around 20,000 square meters, could watch the monkeys over a dry ditch.
This house was separated from another enclosure for lowland gorillas that were not injured by the fire.
Zoo employees could not be reached on Wednesday. The zoo shared on Facebook that it would not be open on New Year's Day and thanked people on social media for the "overwhelming wave of compassion and support".