Dennis the orangutan playing with a fire hose from Cambridgeshire
In 2009 Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue received an unusual request.
A wildlife researcher from Cambridge University asked if there was any old fire hose available, to donate to an orangutan centre in Sumatra.
"Fire hoses are more flexible and durable than ropes," said Hannah Rose Trayford, who is looking into ways of improving the animals' rehabilitation.
Redundant fire hose was available and is now helping the rescued animals on their journey back to the wild.
Hannah Rose Trayford has been working with orangutans for seven years at the rehabilitation centre in Sumatra.
"These are all orangutans that have been illegally caught from the wild, and kept as pets," she explained. "The aim now is to rehabilitate them so they can be sent back to the wild.
"That requires teaching them all the skills they require, that they would have learnt from their mother living in the wild, which they previously wouldn't have been able to receive."
Manohara the orangutan using a fire hose for support
This is where the hose proves useful. In 2010, researchers took the hose out to Indonesia.
Emma Cousins is from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue. She explained how the fire hose became available.
"Obviously fire fighters have to depend on the equipment that they use so it is checked every day," she said.
"It wasn't that there was anything significantly wrong with the hose reel, it's just that it wasn't fit for operational use any more, and so we were quite happy to send it over to Indonesia to help these animals."
The fire hose is usually disposed of after it reaches the end of its operational life and the service would consider helping Hannah's orangutans in the same way in the future, if hose was available.
Now that the hose is out in Sumatra it is being put to good use.
"Trying to rehabilitate an orangutan in a completely captive setting outside its natural environment is obviously a very challenging thing to do," said Hannah.
"Orangutans are extremely clever and very, very strong, so finding the right materials on a very tight budget is even more of a challenge.
"Basically fire hoses are one of the very few items that orangutans won't just destroy, or they might after a very long time, but they can last for years.
"So the fire hose is a great way of providing more complexity to their enclosures, moving away from more traditional rigid structures in a cage, and giving them a more flexible material to climb on and something that's mimicking the natural forest environment that they live in."
Wild orangutans are being wiped out in their home islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
WWF, the global environment network, says their population has dropped by 91% over the last century.
The apes are threatened by logging, hunting and forest fires.
So the work of the rehabilitation centre, which seeks to reintroduce the former pets back to the wild, is crucial to help boost numbers.
"Some come in at just a few days old and some as adults," explained Hannah Rose Trayford. "They will come in at different skill levels or they've been in captivity for anything from just a week or two or their entire life which can be 15 or 20 years."
She added that the use of fire hoses had "a huge effect" in helping the animals.