Fire kills primates

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

an electrical fire killed 23 residents of the
Philadelphia Zoo monkey house in their
sleep early on December 24, as alarms
failed to sound and security guards misattributed
the smell of smoke to railroad locomotives
idling nearby.
Ranging in age from 11 months to
30 years, the victims included a family of
six western lowland gorillas, three Bornean
orangutans, four white-handed gibbons,
two ruffed lemurs, two mongoose lemurs,
and six ringtailed lemurs. Ten primates
housed farther from the blaze survived.
Shocked keepers were offered
bereavement counseling.
Upon completing repairs, the zoo
is expected to rebuild its primate collection
by recalling animals it has out on loan to
other institutions––including another six
gorillas, one of whom, Chaka, 11, has
sired six offspring at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Begun in 1859, the Philadelphia
Zoo is the oldest in the U.S.

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