As Vauxhall starts its transformation of its Ellesmere Port plant into a purely electric vehicle manufacturing site, it has donated 50 fire hoses to Chester Zoo, which will be re-purposed to make hammocks, foraging tools and provide climbing opportunities for the animals at the charity zoo.

As part of the plant upgrade, Vauxhall was looking for ways to repurpose the 50ft long hoses which had reached the end of their life for firefighting capabilities. Following conversations with nearby Chester Zoo, the hoses will now become a regular site in the zoo’s elephant and ape habitats, fulfilling a diverse range of uses.

In the ape habitats, zookeepers will use the hoses to create hammocks, as well as cutting up the hoses to create puzzle balls with peanut butter and jam inside for the primates to extract, encouraging them to work for their food.

The hoses will also become a key tool for keepers caring for the zoo’s herd of Asian elephants. Acting as a foraging tool, the hoses will be attached to logs so the elephants can throw them around, while the keepers will also employ them as training aids.

Diane Miller, Plant Director, Ellesmere Port, said: “We’re happy to be able to support Chester Zoo with this donation of fire hoses, and look forward to seeing them being enjoyed by the animals. As we transform Ellesmere Port into a plant producing solely battery electric vehicles, it’s great to be able to re-purpose old materials in a sustainable way that also benefits an important charity.”

Dr Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals, Chester Zoo, said: “At Chester Zoo our animal keeper teams are always looking at innovative ways to provide additional stimulation for the animals. The challenge is finding the right sorts of materials, but one tried and tested material is a fire hose due to its toughness and durability.

“It can be used in a variety of ways including being crafted into hammocks for large primates, giant puzzle balls to hide food inside, or just fixed around various habitats to provide even more climbing opportunities. As a major wildlife charity we’re grateful for this donation from Vauxhall.”

Last year, Stellantis announced a £100 million investment in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant to transform the site for a new era in electric vehicle manufacturing. In the coming months, Ellesmere Port will become the first Stellantis plant to produce a solely battery-electric model, in both commercial and passenger versions, including the Combo-e and Combo-e Life, for both domestic and export markets.


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