Blaze-hit zoo plans rebuilding project with £90,000 donations

A NEW tropical house is set to be built at a Scottish zoo to replace one hit by a devastating blaze that killed all the creatures inside.

Fifty firefighters tackled the blaze at the tropical house of the Five Sisters Zoo, in West Lothian, in the early hours of April 14 this year.

Reptiles, invertebrates and small mammals inside the enclosure died, while a male otter and a number of meerkats in neighbouring buildings also succumbed.

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The zoo set up a fund on the day of the blaze to deal with the volume of calls from members of the public wanting to donate money to the West Calder attraction.

Every penny will now go towards the planned construction of a new tropical house, bosses said.

Lesley Coupar, of marketing and visitor services at the family-run zoo, said: “We’re certainly up to over £90,000. It’s just absolutely amazing. We’ve put it into a separate fund and we’re keeping that specifically for the new-build.

“This has carried us through the last few months. We’ve now got a spring in our step, we’ve really got a much more positive attitude.”

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Ms Coupar said donations ranged from 50p from children’s pocket money to £1,500 from a boy who organised a sponsored conga.

Scots singing star Susan Boyle has also backed the zoo with two visits and a donation.

The zoo has welcomed the donation of a male otter by Hoo Farm in Shropshire, which is said to have given some much-needed company to the female otter who lost her partner.

Ms Coupar said: “They’re totally enjoying each other’s company. They go everywhere, do everything together. It’s just a lovely, happy story.”