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article imageZoo turns elephant poop into profit

By Kim I. Hartman     Nov 11, 2010 in World
Topeka - Through a collaboration between Friends of the Topeka Zoo and the Topeka Zoo, staff and volunteers are becoming “manurologists” by taking “endangered feces” and turning it into unique art pieces called “My Pet Poo."
It's all being done in the name of elephant conservation and awareness: After collecting the perfect specimens, the dung is allowed to dry. Following the proper curing, it's turned into art using paint, beads, buttons and more. The artwork comes with a special certificate of authenticity including the name of the piece, its personality and more.
"Just like people, each piece is unique," Zoo officials said. "Some have faces, some have decorations, and some even have special parts that allow for holding pens or pictures."
Each piece of My Pet Poo sells for about $10, and custom projects are $25.
It's part of a fundraiser called My Pet Poo in which volunteers take hunks of pachyderm dung and paint into all sorts of fun designs.
"We've had requests to paint the poop to look like a Kansas City Chief or a Jayhawk from the University of Kansas," Kate Larison, the executive director of the Friends of the Topeka Zoo, told AOL News. "One person even wanted a Green Bay Packer Cheesehead."
Larison said the idea to repackage poop occurred a few weeks ago at a meeting and the group decided not to make haste with waste and started selling the pieces this week.
Officials with the Topeka Zoo said:
" You can help support elephant conservation with your own piece of decorated, genuine elephant poo! The zoo elephants supply them with fresh piles of material daily. It is dried to ensure no smell is contained within the dung, then each piece is painted and decorated in its own unique way and finally coated with a clear sealant and prepared to deliver to your door."
Zookeeper Kim Doman says My Pet Poo is mostly made of hay and won't stink up your home. So, buy as many as you want, as they won't run out. The girls are busy making fresh piles daily, reports KTKA news in Topeka.
In order to get the "product," the zookeepers feed the elephants two bales of hay and 10 pounds of grain a day, and there is a lot of variation in form. "Most of the pieces are round, but some are flatter while others are dome-shaped," said Larison.
So if you're interested in owning your own My Pet Poo, it's and can be purchased in the Leopard Spot Gift Shop located inside the zoo, over the phone by calling the Friends of the Zoo at 785.272.7595, or online at Leopard Spot Gift Shop.
More about Topeka zoo, Pet poo, Elephant, Poop, Friends topeka zoo
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