DANBURY TOWNSHIP — Multiple animals died in a barn fire Thanksgiving evening at the African Safari Wildlife Park in Ottawa County.
According to the park’s official Facebook page, no staff were injured during the blaze that started Thursday evening, and the safari is assessing how many animals were killed in the fire.
“Our African Safari Wildlife Park team is devastated by the loss of animals housed in a barn destroyed by fire that was discovered early Thanksgiving evening,” a Facebook post said. “We are grateful that our staff is safe and no one was injured, but the loss of the wildlife that we care for every day is tragic for our team members who love these animals.”
Due to the fire, the safari will be closed Friday as staff mourn the loss of the wildlife.
The company said in its Facebook post that officials are still assessing the damage, but reported the fire occurred in a barn used for overnight care and security for the animals.
A cause of the fire has not been determined. The social media post said an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire.
Dispatchers from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office told the News Herald Thursday the fire was reported by citizens and that Danbury Township Fire Department, Port Clinton Fire Department and Catawba Fire provided mutual aid.
The park features a total of more than 50 species of animals during the summer.
The amusement park offers drive an drive-through tours of the safari with animals such as giraffes, elk, camels and zebras, with walk-through tours and educational feedings of animals such as porcupine, kangaroo, tortoise, and gibbons.
In its 51st season, the safari park has rare creatures such as white bison and albino alligators.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the park features a total of more than 50 species of animals during the summer.
An estimated 150,000 people come to the 100-acre park annually, making it one of the largest attractions in the area, according to park officials.
African Safari Wildlife Park had been planning a special discount admission for Black Friday and was scheduled to close for the season on Sunday.
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