Thirteen monkeys have died in a fire at a safari park.
The blaze broke out in the Jungle Enclosure at Woburn Safari Park, Beds., in the early hours of this morning (tue), causing the roof to collapse.
Staff and fire crews battled to save the Patas monkeys, but none of the thirteen animals could be saved.
They were being kept inside for the winter months, but normally live outside in the park’s 18-acre African Jungle enclosure.
In a statement, a spokesman for Woburn Safari Park said: “All other animals within the jungle drive-through enclosure are being monitored, but early signs suggest that they have not been affected.
“An investigation is now under way into the cause of the fire and the jungle enclosure will remain closed for investigation.
“The rest of the park will remain open.”
Describing the Patas monkeys, a page on the park’s website reads: “Our troop of Patas monkeys can be seen on the road safari in the African Jungle.
“Here they roam in their 16 acre exhibit with our troop of Barbary macaques and herd of Eastern Mountain Bongo.
“They are housed at night time in the winter but in the warm summer months they have 24/7 access to their large exhibit.”
Fire crews were called to the site at around 2.37am this morning but described the building as being 90 per cent damaged by fire.
A spokesman from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a fire at a monkey enclosure at Woburn Safari Park at 2.37am this morning.
“When firefighters from Woburn and Dunstable Community Fire Stations arrived along with the water carrier from Toddington they found the outbuilding housing Patas monkeys was well alight and its roof had fallen in.
“They fought the fire using fire hoses while wearing breathing apparatus to protect themselves from the smoke and fumes.
“The building was 90 per cent damaged by the fire.”
Patas monkeys originate from Africa, where they live in open grassland, wooded savannahs and dry woodland.
They grow up to 85cm in length and their tails grow to 75cm.
Males can weigh up to 12 kg and females 6.5 kg and they have a lifespan of up to 20 years.
In Africa, Patas monkeys are hunted for meat and are persecuted as a crop pest.