It’s not normally a good thing to monkey around with expensive firefighting equipment — but the new animal training center in Des Moines plans to that with some old tools of the firefighting trade. The Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary is under construction near Des Moines, and senior animal caretaker Andy Antilla says they’re collecting old fire hoses for one of the buildings. He says fire hose is the best simulated vine material they can find. He says the hose is very, very strong and lasts for a very long time. He says the apes can do all kinds of things to it and it doesn’t break like rope. Don’t bother sending in your old garden hose — Antilla says they’re looking for the old-style cotton jacketed fire hose that’s lined with rubber.He says the orangutans would be able to chew through a regular garden hose. He says they can be a little bit destructive and tend to chew through things if they can. Antilla says the hose that once saved a burning building could become part of an indoor jungle.He says orangutans are considered arboreal primates, or arboreal apes. He says they’re trying to simulate an arboreal habitat — or life in the trees. He says they would string the hose from the ceiling, make hammocks out of it, string it from one end of the building to the other to give the apes a pathway through the trees. Antilla says using the old fire hose for the apes also solves a problem for some fire departments. He says the fire departments are switching from the cotton-jacket rubber-lined hose to plain rubber hose. He says they can take the old hose that would’ve been thrown away and recycle it. Antilla says they’ve already gotten several feet of the hose from the Des Moines Fire Department, and are asking other departments for their used hose too. Antilla says they should have a couple of orangtans in the new building, ready to swing from hose to hose by the end of June.
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