Donated fire hoses help the well-being of animals at Caldwell Zoo

Elephant eating out of forage feeder made of fire hose.
Elephant eating out of forage feeder made of fire hose.
Updated: Jan. 28, 2019 at 5:15 PM CST
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East Texas News at 6.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - One man’s trash is another man’s treasure- at least that’s the case with some old fire hoses.

The Gladewater Fire Department recently donated some of their expired and unusable fire hoses to the Caldwell Zoo.

“It’s strong, it’s durable and we’re able to use it to make enrichment items for our animals," Kaley Sullenger with the Caldwell Zoo said.

Enrichment can include items or events that encourage natural behaviors the animals would show in the wild. One of those items is a forage feeder.

“That’s to increase the amount of time that they spend eating their food and to simulate foraging," she said. "In the wild, their food wouldn’t appear in a big pile for them to eat.”

All sorts of animals benefit from the fire hose donation.

“Our otters are slatted to get a fire hose bed; we’ve talked about our ant eater getting a fire hose hammock," she said. "We use the forage feeders for our elephants and our rhinos and our tortoises.”

The Caldwell Zoo’s enrichment committee will attend a Hose to Habitat workshop in October at the Dallas Zoo where they will learn how to make additional fire hose pieces and work with other zookeepers on ideas to improve the welfare of the animals.

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