Arthur the ring-tailed Lemur pictured alongside snow leopards Karli and Nieva.
(L - R): Arthur the ring-tailed Lemur pictured alongside snow leopards Karli and Nieva.

Northumberland Zoo unveils sustainable upgrades thanks to ‘amazing’ partnership

A host of living spaces of exotic animals from a North-East zoo have benefitted from a donation of repurposed Fire Service equipment.

Northumberland Zoo, a family-run zoo based at Felton in Morpeth, approached Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) to ask if they had any old and unwanted durable materials to enhance their animal enclosures.

TWFRS Technical Services Centre aims to recycle or repurpose any equipment that is no longer fit for service. The team in Gateshead were able to donate ten lengths of old fire hose totalling 300-metres and 200-metres of former rope rescue line to the zoo.

The old hose and rope equipment have already been put to good use with animals, including snow leopards, lemurs, goats, raccoons and arctic foxes, benefitting from hoses being made into hammocks and platform toppers within their enclosures.

The rope has also been creatively used in Northumberland Zoo’s barns to hang hay nets and toys for animals, including the goats and horses. The zoo currently houses 90 species of animals with around 400 animals in total living on its 20 acres of land.

Anthony Hall, Operational Workshop Team Leader at TWFRS, commented: "It is wonderful to see our operational materials that have been used by firefighters to help save people’s lives have been given a new lease of life at Northumberland Zoo.

“The creative ways that the rope and perforated fire hoses have been repurposed is amazing, and for the animals to use them on a daily basis as part of their habitat is very rewarding to know. As a Service, we try to recycle a large proportion of our materials to help protect the environment and save the equipment from being sent to landfill.”

Maxine Bradley, Zoo Manager at Northumberland Zoo, said: “Sustainability and recycling are at the core of everything we do here at the zoo. The opportunity to give used firehose a second life for animal enrichment and exhibit design aligns perfectly with our environmental ethos and high husbandry standards.”

Maxine explains that firehose is a tough and versatile product ideal for creating hammocks, platforms, hanging enrichment devices and feeders for the zoo’s inhabitants. She continued: “The toughness is great for larger carnivore species and safe for them to use, so the zookeepers don't need to worry about the animals shredding it easily.

“It is amazing to have a partnership with a local service who are happy for us to make use of their waste for the benefit of our animals. We can always utilise firehose at the zoo, so it is a relationship we are keen to continue.”

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