General Motors and local zoo embark on ape business for a good cause

General Motors and local zoo embark on ape business for a good cause

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 / 1:32 PM EST / Updated: Jan 25, 2021 / 1:32 PM EST

This image provided by General Motors shows the new company logo. General Motors is changing its company logo and launching an electric vehicle marketing campaign as it tries to refurbish its image from a manufacturer of gasoline-powered pickup trucks and SUVs to a clean vehicle company. The 112-year-old Detroit automaker said that on Friday, Jan.8, 2021, the campaign will showcase GM’s progressive corporate vision as it pledges to roll out 30 new battery-powered vehicles around the world by end of 2025 (General Motors via AP)

FLINT, Mich., (WLNS) – A colony of spider monkeys, an endangered Amur tiger and a family of North American river otters enjoy a new set of toys and items from enrichment thanks to General Motors and the Flint Metal Center.

The Flint Metal Center, which produces sheet metal end caps for HD Chevrolet, GMC Sierra Crew and Regular Cab trucks, recently donated 1,500 feet of used fire hoses to the Potter Park Zoo, located in Lansing. With more than 500 animals in its care, the zoo reuses donated pipes as toys, puzzles and other enrichment items for the animals.

Monica Walker, GM environmental engineer at Flint Metal Center, said the National Fire Protection Association requires the replacement of fire hoses every five years, if the hoses have not been flushed with water.

“I recently found a flyer from our first donation to the zoo, and realized it had been exactly five years since,” Walker said. “It was time for new pipes and another delivery.”

The donation was part of an ongoing relationship between the factory and the zoo. In November 2015, Flint Metal Center millwright, now-retired Neil MacFadden, had a conversation with his daughter, Annie Marcum, about the need for fire hoses to create enrichment items. animals at the Potter Park Zoo, where she worked. Their conversation sparked the partnership which now offers many benefits for animals as well as a sustainable way to recycle plant materials.

The pipes are used in the zoo exhibits to create food toys for the otter tank and to build rope swings, vines, and feeders for the zoo’s spider monkey family.

“The fire hose we buy from Flint is the perfect size for us. We often braid the fire hoses into different shapes and tuck food inside for the animals to get out, ”said Marcum, chief zookeeper for the carnivore and primate area of ​​the zoo.

She emphasized the importance of enrichment items for the animals in her care.

“Enrichment is so vital because it gives animals a way to express natural behaviors and to feel more satisfied with their surroundings,” Marcum said. “It also allows animals to stand and move and gives zookeepers a way to educate guests about an exhibit.

Flint Metal Center plans to continue its partnership with the zoo to reuse the plant’s fire hoses after each five-year hose replacement, helping the plant eliminate a source of waste. Mr Walker said employees are constantly looking for innovative ways to increase the sustainability of the plant as GM moves towards a zero-waste future.


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