The average elephant produces up to 300 pounds of dung a day. Now, the Prague Zoo, which is home to a herd of elephants, has announced creative plans to put all that poop to good use. The zoo has teamed up with the 420-year-old paper mill Velke Losiny and will soon begin transforming the dung produced by their elephants into high-quality paper.
The Associated Press reports that Velke Losiny will use traditional paper-making techniques to process the elephant manure. Though the company has centuries of paper-making experience, company director Petr Foucek told the Associated Press that elephant dung paper was “something new for us.” In addition to outsourcing paper production to Velke Losiny, the zoo will also let visitors make their own manure paper at a brand-new zoo facility.
Though the Prague Zoo is home to an entire herd of elephants, their most famous pachyderm is Shanti, an Asian elephant who was transported to Europe in 1977 to appear in the movies. She was purchased by the Prague Zoo after “acting” in a children’s film called Poplach v oblacích (Alarm in the Clouds)—which means if you purchase some of the zoo’s elephant dung paper, you might end up writing your next letter on paper made from a movie star’s poop.
This isn’t the first time the Prague Zoo has found a creative way to get rid of their elephant dung—they also sell it as fertilizer—nor are they the first people to create elephant dung paper. Companies like Mr. Ellie Pooh sell a range of elephant dung paper products, from notebooks, journals, and greeting cards to hand-crafted paper artworks. In the case of Mr. Ellie Pooh, part of the project is aimed at protecting Sri Lanka’s endangered elephant population, in part by showing Sri Lankans that elephant dung is a sustainable economic resource. At the Prague Zoo, though, it seems more likely that beleaguered zookeepers were simply looking for a fun way to get rid of the thousands of pounds of elephant manure that pile up every day.
[h/t Associated Press]