Horrific zoo fire sparks reminder of sky lantern dangers

  • The Countryside Alliance (CA) has renewed its call for tougher control over the use of sky lanterns following the devastating fire at a German zoo.

    Investigators believe a sky lantern was the likely cause of the fire at Krefeld Zoo on 1 January, in which more than 30 animals died.

    Sky lanterns have been behind horrific damage and injuries to horses, animals, wildlife and farms in the UK — both by igniting fires and the damage they cause when ingested by animals.

    The CA is among the organisations, including the NFU, British Horse Society and RSPCA, which have long raised concerns about the real dangers sky lanterns pose and lobbied for more restrictions on their being released.

    A number of local authorities have taken steps to ban their release on public land, including Wales, where it is banned to release sky lanterns on any council-owned land.

    “While sky lanterns are used to create a spectacle in the sky, they are also a serious danger to the countryside, livestock and wildlife,” said Sarah Lee, head of policy at the CA.

    “The horrendous news of the zoo fire in Germany, should remind us all of the very real threat they pose.

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    “Drifting for miles they are a menace for farmers and landowners who frequently report sheep, cattle and horses being injured or even dying from eating the wire metal frames of the lanterns or being spooked by them, on top of the fire hazard they pose.

    “Not only that, they are also a serious source of litter in the countryside. We urge people to think twice before letting them off and to consider the impact of them after they have left their hands.

    “If people cannot act responsibly, then firmer action is needed from the government, which could well result in a ban.”

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