Birmingham & Black Country

Monkeys saved after Birmingham nature reserve arson attack

The picture of the Spider Monkeys from West Midlands Fire Service twitter Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption Crews said the fire "was at one end and the monkeys were hiding in another"

Two spider monkeys were saved by firefighters after an arson attack at a nature reserve.

Crews were called to a blaze in the monkey house at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park at about 23:00 BST on Thursday.

Paul Bayliss, from Bournbrook fire station, said: "The fire was at one end and the monkeys were hiding in another."

Monkeys Rosie and Gucci were unharmed but the enclosure has been damaged.

West Midlands Police said the fire was being treated as arson.

Image copyright Paul Bayliss
Image caption Crews from Bournbrook and Aston fire stations attended

Mr Bayliss said: "It was a confined enclosure, but there were trees going above so it was a case of getting in there and getting the fire out."

Once it was extinguished, firefighters worked with the keepers to keep the animals inside until the enclosure was secure.

Mr Bayliss added: "The smoke actually did us a favour: where there was a big hole created by the fire, the smoke kept them back, but they became more inquisitive and started coming closer and we would be ushering them back.

"Then the keepers came and they were feeding them bananas to keep them in."

Image copyright Paul Bayliss
Image caption The monkeys were fed bananas to stop them from getting out of the hole caused by the fire

The park is closed to the public on Friday, but it is hoped it will reopen on Saturday morning.

Manager Lee Basford said it was "appalling" that someone would target a sanctuary for animals in this way.

He praised the "tremendous efforts" of the fire service, and said the monkeys would have to be temporarily rehomed at Dudley Zoo due to the damage to their enclosure.

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