Fire Departments, businesses and individuals have donated nearly two miles of fire hoses to the Great Ape Research Center being planned for southeast Des Moines. Al Setka, a spokesman for the Great Ape Trust, says they put out a call earlier this summer for discarded fire hose for vines, swings and hammocks for the great apes. He says the response has been “phenomenal.” Setka says they’ve heard from a lot of states and a number of Iowa fire departments. To date, about one-and-three-quarters of a mile of fire hose has been donated to the project. Setka says fire hose is indestructible because of its construction, because there’s a rubber lining surrounded by a canvas jacket. Setka says fire hoses are better than ropes because the apes unravel the rope then can harm themselves when the robe gives way. The following Iowa fire departments contributed old fire hoses to the project: Ankeny, Bagley, Bondurant, Clear Lake, Cumberland, Des Moines, Douds, Evansdale, Iowa City, Jamaica, Oakville, Shellsburg, Stuart, Swaledale, Truro and Yale. Setka says by donating the fire hoses rather than discarding them, those fire departments saved space in their local land fills. Other donors to the project include a West Des Moines man who had purchased an old fire truck, MidAmerican Energy, Principal Financial and Kiewit Industrial. The Great Ape Research Center will be home to a few orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas who’ll live on the 200 acre site where an indoor home will be built so the apes can withstand an Iowa winter.
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