By Anna Lee
A national animal rights organization is requesting a second federal investigation into the fire that killed 27 animals at Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a complaint Thursday to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service alleging that the Jan. 9 fire resulted in the deaths of eight lemurs, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Fish & Wildlife spokesman Gavin Shire confirmed Friday that the agency received the complaint in an email and is reviewing it.
The agency has enforcement authority over violations of the Endangered Species Act. The lemur, a primate native to the island of Madagascar, has been listed as an endangered species since 1970, according to the agency's website.
Hollywild officials said they're choosing not to respond to PETA's latest complaint.
"They have an agenda," said Kim Atchley, Hollywild's director of marketing and public relations.
A total of 40 animals were housed inside the park's primate barn when an electrical fire broke out overnight. A Hollywild employee discovered smoke when he came into work the next morning and was able to help rescue 13 of the animals. They have since been treated and are recovering at the park, Atchley has said.
The animals that died included capuchins, chimpanzees, baboons, a bear cub, an African crowned crane, four wolf hybrid puppies and a barn cat.
PETA has also asked the federal government to remove the surviving endangered animals and strip Hollywild of its license.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the licensing of animal exhibitors, is already looking into the circumstances of the fire to see if any Animal Welfare Act violations were involved, said agency spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole.