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Enrichment Projects:Chimp Fire Hose Hammock

Melanie Parker July 25, 2014

Inside the chimp’s night room are several hammocks made of woven fire hose, which are a favorite napping spot for Hazel, Pozna, Noelle, Zulu and Victoria. Providing places like this for the chimps allows them to get away from the group for a bit and practice their nest building skills, much like wild chimps build their nests up in the trees.  With all the wear and tear these hammocks endure, I decided to begin the process of making all new hammocks for our chimps this summer. Working at a sanctuary with a small group of staff and volunteers and a tight budget, we rely on donations (our fire hose was donated from a local fire department) and a lot of creativity to come up with new ways to enrich the lives of our primate residents. With 4 summer interns to utilize, the staff felt it was a great opportunity to get this extensive enrichment project underway. With the old hammock as a guide, the interns and volunteers took measurements and created a “pattern” and list of instructions so that future interns or volunteers could replicate the work. We have recently completed our first hammock and are very excited to install it in the chimp night room so that one of the girls can break it in with a long afternoon nap.

To build one of these hammocks, we used 18 pieces of 3-inch fire hose cut to 45 inches long, and 2 pieces of 3-inch fire hose cut to 90 inches long (these 2 base pieces are what we’ll use to hang the hammock)

Next, holes were punched into the fire hose using hollow punches at points where we would be securing the pieces together. Then we painted the fire hose to seal all the ends and holes to make it last longer, and to add a splash of color to the chimp’s environment.

 

After drying for a few days, the fire hose was then woven and secured to the base pieces by bolts, large washers, and locking nuts.

 

The final product is then hung in the chimp night room from 4 bathroom-style safety grab bars.

I'd like to thank the summer interns, Becky, Kaile, Tia and Spencer, and a couple of our summer volunteers, Katelyn and Sydney, for working so hard and creating such an awesome, enriching hammock for the PRC chimps.

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