Zoo Budget Cuts, A Dumpster of Fire Hose, and Inspiration Equals Happy Animals at Local Zoos

Hose2Habitat to Connect Fire Stations and Zoos for Animal Habitat Enrichment. Zoos need donations of fire hose, but have difficulty finding who to contact to get it. Fire departments don't want surplus fire hose to go to waste, but don't know that zoos would welcome it. Hose2Habitat connects these two groups.


North Bethesda, MD -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/03/2014 -- As the Federal Government, States, and cities have all struggled with financial woes in recent years, zoos across the country have seen their budgets slashed. Zoos are struggling to do more with less while maintaining high standards of animal care.

Providing the animals with habitats and experiences to stimulate and encourage species-typical behaviors is an important part of animal care in zoos. Animal habitat enrichment promotes animal well-being, brings satisfaction to the animal caregivers, and is rewarding to the public who visit the zoos and see the animals interacting with their environments in new and interesting ways.

Many zoos have found that fire hose makes excellent material for hammocks, balls, climbing ladders, and other habitat enrichment items for gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees,lions, tigers, elephants, lemurs, and many other animals. However, new fire hose is expensive.

Fire hose has to be replaced by fire departments periodically regardless of condition because of regulations and advancements in technology. This fire hose is sometimes sold, but often is thrown away.

Hose2Habitat, a Maryland based nonprofit, has piloted a program to match local fire departments and fire safety companies with zoos and animal sanctuaries for the purpose of fire hose donations.

Hose2Habitat co-founders, Lisa Daly and Anthony Slamin, began the program after seeing fire hose thrown into trash dumpsters at the fire station where they volunteered as EMTs.

“We noticed that fire hose was used in the Ape House at the National Zoo and wondered if the hose we saw in the trash at the fire station could be used at the zoo.” said Daly. “We asked at the zoo and were told that they would welcome donations of fire hose.”

During the piloting phase, the National Zoo and other zoos around the country have received donations as a result of the program. Ready to take the program to the next level, Daly and Slamin contacted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to discuss the Hose2Habitat idea.

“Through their network of more than 6,000 committed zoo and aquarium professionals, organizations, and suppliers worldwide and their 224 accredited zoo and aquarium members, AZA can help us identify and connect with zoos that would like to receive fire hose donations,” said Slamin.

Slamin and Daly also contacted the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. With its network of more than 10,000 chief fire and emergency officers, the IAFC can help spread awareness among fire chiefs interested in becoming involved with decommissioned fire hose donations to zoos through the Hose2Habitat program.

Hose2Habitat is conducting a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo from June 4 - July 2 at www.igg.me/at/hose2habitat. Rewards for donations through the crowd funding campaign include Original Backer tee shirts and unique experiences with the founders. Funds will be used to apply for 501(c)(3) status, build the Hose2Habitat website into a strong resource for the program, and expand the program throughout the country and internationally.

About Hose2Habitat
Hose2Habitat (http://www.hose2habitat.org) is dedicated to matching fire departments, fire safety companies, and other sources of surplus fire hose with zoos and other animal sanctuaries that need fire hose for habitat enrichment.

Contact: Lisa Daly
Phone: 240.388.1281