A heroic zoo boss saved dozens of helpless animals from a blazing inferno as he took rare monkeys and pandas into the safety of his own home.
Chad Staples, the director of the small Mogo Zoo in NSW, said conditions were ‘apocalyptic’ as his team battled to protect dozens of breeds they considered ‘like family’.
His home is now bursting at the seams with the likes of monkeys and red pandas, while larger animals such as lions and tigers are being looked after in their night dens.
Not a single one of the 200 animals in the zoo was injured despite the raging bushfire threatening the regional town.
Mogo Zoo’s director, Chad Staples, told the ABC he took several smaller animals, including red pandas and small monkeys, to his own home.
“Right now in my house there are animals of all descriptions in all the different rooms, that are there safe and protected … not a single animal lost,” he said.
Sara Ang, speaking on behalf of the Mogo Wildlife Park, told news.com.au overnight that Mr. Staples, along with 12 team members, were safe and had “worked tirelessly” to protect the zoo and its animals.
He said the zoo only survived because there’d been a precise plan in place: first, the zookeepers moved everything flammable from the area and then turned to the animals themselves.
The larger ones like the lions, tigers, and orang-utans were moved into secured night enclosures to keep them safe and calm but the smaller ones needed extra shelter.
So director Staples decided to simply have them taken to his own house.
Sara Ang from the wildlife park told BBC 5 Live radio that “some of the smaller monkeys had to be moved to the house, the red panda is in the house and there’s a tiger in the back area of the house”.
“All the animals that needed to be moved indoors have been moved indoors,” and hence are safe from the fire. Giraffes and zebras were left in their enclosures as they were large enough for the animals to move away from spot fires.