Two birds of prey killed in fire at safari park

29 March 2018, 16:38

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Two birds of prey have been killed after fire broke out in an aviary at a Scottish safari park.

Workers at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling called the emergency services before 9pm on Wednesday.

Managers believe the blaze was caused by a fault in a heating system in the Bird of Prey Centre at the park.

The birds, a Ruppell griffon vulture and a white-tailed sea eagle, both died in the fire which was brought under control by 10pm.

Park manager Gary Gilmour said: "We are sad to announce that two birds of prey have died in a fire at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

"The fire, which we believe was caused by a fault with our heating system, started in the corner section of the aviary in our Bird of Prey Centre.

"On-site safari park staff reacted immediately. The rapid response from Scottish Fire and Rescue ensured that the fire was quickly contained and extinguished.

"The fire has destroyed two aviaries and a store room in our Bird of Prey Centre.

"Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done to save the birds in these aviaries and a Ruppell griffon vulture and a white-ailed sea eagle both died."

Park managers recently held an exercise with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service involving a pride of lions.

They said their vet has checked other animals in the section and early signs suggest they have not been affected by the blaze.

Mr Gilmour added: "Our Bird of Prey keepers Callan, Dom and Mark have a very close bond with the animals they look after and are understandable very upset at this event, as we all are."

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 8.58pm on Wednesday, March 28 to a fire at the bird enclosure of Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling.

Operations Control quickly mobilised three fire engines to the aviaries inside the park, where firefighters extinguished the fire.

SFRS station manager Alex McCutcheon, the incident commander, said: "On arrival the fire had already taken hold of two aviaries - but quick and decisive action ensured that the fire was contained to stop further fire spread and extinguished.

"Safari park staff and crews managed to save the majority of the birds and relocate them, but sadly two did not survive.

"I would like to thank the firefighters involved for bringing this incident to a swift conclusion, and also the staff at the park for their assistance."

The Bird of Prey Centre was closed to visitors on Thursday but is expected to reopen as usual on Friday.