paigntonpicsA set of de-commissioned fire hoses from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service have been put to good use at Paignton Zoo where they are being used as climbing ropes, hammocks and feeding balls as part of the environmental enrichment programme.

Paignton Zoo Research Officer, Holly Farmer said: "Environmental enrichment is all about providing animals with things to interest and stimulate them. This may be feeding devices, things to climb on or simply novel items to play with."  Zoo science staff, volunteers, students and keepers work together to devise, make and test enrichment items.

The equipment is an invaluable resource as high pressure black hoses make ideal climbing ropes in the primates' enclosures as normal ropes degrade and can be bitten through and split causing a danger to the smaller monkeys as they catch their paws in them. 

Matthew Webb, Senior Head Keeper of Mammals, said: "Old hose pipes are used for everything from hammocks for mandrills and baboons to footballs for elephants. The hosepipe balls are filled with food which falls out when the elephants play with them."

This recycling initiative is just the latest part of a unique collaboration between Paignton Zoo and DSFRS and Paignton Blue watch crew commander Clint Hayes said:"We do twelve month tests on all our hose and if it they have to many holes in it, we move it on. In this case we've donated it to the zoo and the animals make great use of something that would normally be thrown away."  

Posted 25/04/2012 by