London Zoo has confirmed that a female aardvark has died in the fire at a cafe and petting zoo, which took 70 firefighters to bring under control this morning.
Four meerkats are also missing following the blaze at the Animal Adventure Cafe & Shop in the Outer Circle of the zoo, near Regents Park.
The London Fire Brigade was called this morning after flames engulfed the structure, which contains a petting zoo with meerkats, porcupines, goats, pigs and other farmyard animals. At night the animals are housed in a building adjacent to the cafe.
Director General London Zoo, Dominic Jermey, confirmed that the aardvark, Misha, had died in the fire and that four meerkats were missing.
However he said zoo staff were unable to get into the scene of the fire to confirm their fate as it was under the control of the fire service.
He told Sky News: “We are devastated that our aardvark, Misha, perished in the fire and we have four meerkats that are unaccounted for”.
Misha was a 10-year-old aardvark and described on the London Zoo website as being partial to “special treats like crickets and mealworms”.
Aardvarks are nocturnal burrowing mammals native to Africa and known for their distinctive snouts, which are used for seeking out the ants and termites they subsist on in the wild.
Staff at the zoo are being treated for smoke inhalation and shock after making desperate attempts to save the animals from the flames.
The fire has since been brought under control after consuming two thirds of the cafe and half its roof.
A spokesman for the zoo said: “Duty staff that live on site at the zoo were on the scene immediately, and started moving animals to safety.
“The London Fire Brigade were on the scene within minutes and the fire was brought under control by 9:16am.
“A number of zoo staff have been treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and shock.
“Our staff are now in the process of assessing the situation in difficult conditions.”
Desperate zookeepers are believed to have smashing their way through the glass at the neighbouring meerkat enclosure in an effort to save the small mammals.
The blaze left some zoo staff in tears and several gathered outside the cafe and consoled and hugged each other.
The London Fire Brigade said it was first called to the zoo at 6.08am this morning and an aerial ladder was used in the operation.
It said the fire was now under control and firefighters had moved on to damping down the charred remains of the cafe.
The zoo has been closed today and will remain so until further notice
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/23/london-zoo-70-firefighters-battle-blaze-cafe-shop/