Mom, two daughters behind German zoo fire

Posted on 3 January 2020

A mother and two daughters have handed themselves over to police for causing the German zoo fires on New Year’s Eve.

According to The Guardian the mother (60) and her two adult daughters heard the news on the radio and decided to hand themselves in.

A fire broke out at Krefeld Zoo in Germany shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve, burning down an enclosure that housed many endangered primates.

Sky or Chinese lanterns are believed to be what caused the devastating fires, killing over 30 animals. Among the animals that perished were five orangutans, two gorillas, a chimpanzee and several monkeys, as well as fruit bats and birds that were inside the ape house.

Read: Gorillas, orangutans die in German zoo fire

Gerd Hoppmann, head of the Krefeld criminal police, said at a press conference that the women were seemingly responsible and sensible people, who were courageous in turning themselves in. Local prosecutors are currently investigating the women, as arson is a criminal offense that is punishable up to five years in prison.

Firefighters found four lanterns at the scene but a fifth lantern was missing. According to The Guardian, it is believed that the fifth lantern landed on the roof of the enclosure, setting it alight.

Chinese lanterns are illegal in most parts of Germany and have been for 10 years.

Hoppman said that the women were unaware of this rule and purchased their lanterns on the internet.

In Germany, fireworks are not illegal and individual persons can purchase and ignite these in public on New Year’s Eve as part of tradition.

This has sparked major debate as animal protection groups are calling for the ban of fireworks near kennels, farms and zoos.

Many people have placed candles and flowers at the entrance of the zoo in mourning of this devastating tragedy.

Image: Twitter


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