'Heartbroken' Chester Zoo have confirmed that some of its animals were killed in Saturday's devastating fire.

Bosses at the zoo spoke of their devastation after being unable to save insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire.

The blaze destroyed much of the vast plastic roof covering the Monsoon Forest area.

All the mammals were located and rushed to safety as the blaze spread rapidly through the polymer roofing material.

Jamie Christon, the zoo's chief operating officer, described Saturday as 'one of the toughest days in Chester Zoo's long history.'

He said: "The remarkable efforts from the zoo team and the emergency services meant the fire was extinguished as quickly as possible.

"Visitors were evacuated immediately and we would like to thank them for their understanding and cooperation. Thankfully, no staff or public were harmed in the incident.

"Keepers were able to encourage all mammal species away from the fire and to safety - including the zoo’s group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills.

Chester and District Standard:

"We are though, devastated to say that we were unable to save some of our insects, frogs, fish and small birds who were located near to the outbreak of the fire.

"It’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose any animal, especially when conservationists have worked so hard to breed these wonderful species.

"New homes have been found within the zoo for all of the animals that were led to safety and our teams are working around the clock to relocate them as soon as possible.

Chester and District Standard:

"The strength and support from the public has been incredibly overwhelming and the messages of goodwill have been of great comfort to our teams. We will support each other in rebuilding this part of the zoo and continue our mission of preventing extinction.

"The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but we will be helping the relevant authorities with the investigation that will take place over the coming days and weeks.

"We would again, like to thank the emergency services for their swift response."