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SCDF old firefighting hoses to be used to furnish new habitat for Sumatran Orangutans

SCDF old firefighting hoses to be used to furnish new habitat for Sumatran Orangutans

Fire hoses can be manipulated into many different shapes and forms to provide multi-dimensional, stimulating, climbing and resting environments for orangutans. (Photo: Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has donated 90 firefighting hoses to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), which will repurpose them for use in a new orangutan habitat in North Sumatra.

This is the third such donation made by SCDF to various wildlife organisations, as part of its efforts to “give new life to old firefighting hoses”, it said in a news release on Monday (Dec 21).

These hoses are deemed “beyond economical repair and are no longer serviceable”, SCDF added.

SCDF had previously donated hoses to Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in May 2016 and again in November this year.

“SCDF is pleased to be able to give a new lease of life to our old firefighting hoses and do our part in the global green movement,” said Col Wesley Ho, director of the logistics department at SCDF.

“We believe that the hoses contribute meaningfully to WRS’s and SOCP’s efforts to protect and care for wildlife.”

An orangutan swinging from a vine made of repurposed hoses. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)

In the latest donation, the hoses will be shipped to Medan, Indonesia, where they will be used at a semi-wild home for orangutans in North Sumatra.

The facility, which is still under construction, covers nine islands that “need to be furnished in a way that is appropriate” for orangutans.

The facility is the first of its kind in the world for orangutans, said SCDF in the release.

The furnishing must be “very strong, robust and with pathways and resting places above the ground that cater to natural orangutan climbing behavior and physiology”, SCDF said, adding that fire hoses are the most appropriate material to use.

“The hoses can be manipulated into many different shapes and forms which provide multi-dimensional, stimulated, climbing and resting environments for the orangutans,” it said.

“Fire hose is especially important in a wet climate like Sumatra where materials are often high-maintenance and have a short life.”

Dr Ian Singleton of the SOCP said the hoses will be “invaluable for utilisation” in the new habitats.

“SOCP is gratified and relieved to learn that SCDF has heard their request for help and has leap to the challenge, donating and helping organise a shipment of more than 1000kg of their used fire hoses to help furnish these islands and housing quarters for the Orangutans,” he said.

“With Sumatran Orangutans critically endangered, every piece of assistance can help contribute to the ongoing work of helping in Orangutan survival.”

Col Anthony Toh, Commander 4th SCDF Division (left) with Ms Gail Laule, Director of Animal Presentation pose for a photo during the delivery of the hoses to WRS. (Photo: Singapore Civil Defence Force)

In addition to the donation to SOCP, fire hoses were also donated 94 to WRS in November.

The hoses were repurposed as housing enhancements for animals, as well as for making hammocks and swings, vines and ropes, platforms, support structures, ramps and ladders and visual barriers.

As the material is durable and safe for animals, they were also woven into devices to keep animals mentally and physical stimulated, such as puzzle feeders to either hide food or have different type of food essence sprayed into it to heighten the animals’ senses.

Two dogs from Singapore Zoo's Animal Friends Show sit on a bed made of fire hoses. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)
A binturong makes use of an open yard space furnished with structures made of fire hoses. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)

Ms Gail Laule, director of animal presentation at WRS, said they found the materials to be versatile as well.

“Our animal care teams are able to fulfil a range of needs … to mentally and physically stimulate our animals or create a soft bedding for them,” she said. 

“We love teaming up with like-minded partners to increase ways to live more sustainably and reduce our impact on the environment.”

Source: CNA/ga

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