April 7, 2004
Peper Long, National Zoo 202-673-0206 or 202-673-0209
Alan Etter, D.C. Fire Department 202-345-6371
Fire at National Zoo Bird House
A fire was discovered before 6 a.m. Wednesday in the Wetlands area of the National Zoo’s Bird House exhibit. The fire was limited to the wooden bridges and walkways of the Wetlands. There were no injuries to staff and there were no animal fatalities. Zoo staff accounted for all 134 birds and seven turtles in the exhibit. Three ducks are under observation for possible smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Bird House area of the Zoo remains closed to the public.
The Wetlands exhibit – outside of the Bird House – housed a diverse population of waterfowl in several open, outdoor ponds traversed by boardwalks, which were severely damaged in the fire. It includes brown pelicans, white storks, black-necked swans, turtles and several species of duck. Most of the animals are being moved from the damaged Wetlands exhibit to ponds off-exhibit, where they will remain until repairs have been made.