Animals die in Scottish zoo fire


Reptiles, otters and insects die in Scottish zoo fire

A number of reptiles, insects and an otter have died after a ferocious fire broke out at the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

BBC News reports that Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was able to stop the fire spreading, but not before a large number of reptiles had died.

No people are thought to have been injured in the fire, and a pair of dwarf crocodiles and an otter were rescued.

Lesley Coupar, who deals with marketing and visitor services at the zoo, told BBC Scotland that the fire alarm went off at around 3.50am. The owners, who live on the site, then discovered that the reptile house, a corrugated iron building, was on fire.

She said that a "substantial" number of reptiles and insects had died in the blaze, although the reptile house was partially closed and not all the reptiles were being housed there.

Ms Coupar said: "It was obviously extremely ferocious and everything has perished that was in the reptile house.

"Otters and meerkats were housed near to the blaze, and the crocodiles. We do know that the crocodiles have survived, they were submerged in water in their pond.

"Unfortunately one otter died but the other one, we hope, will survive."

The Daily Mail reports that a team of 50 firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control. Fire crews are still working on site, and nearby roads are closed.

The privately owned zoo was established in 2005.

Ms Coupar said the zoo is are a non-profit organisation which primarily rescues animals who would otherwise be put to sleep because nobody else wants them.

"We are here to offer them a safe haven," she told BBC Scotland. "We work so terribly hard with no money, just to keep these animals so this is just the worst nightmare.

"The owners, staff and volunteers are all completely distraught because our main purpose is to look after and care for these animals."

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