Letting nature take care of itself: Instead of paying a private company to haul away elephant dung every day, caretakers at the Ramat Gan Safari outside of Tel Aviv have found that those 7 kg of dung, per elephant, per day, can save the safari water, and fertilize the plants.
With 12 elephants at the safari, the compost pile has been growing. According to Ha’aretz, Safari staff are using the compost to seal the irrigation basin around young trees, enabling the water to permeate the roots, while slowing down its evaporation.
“Until about a year ago we used to pay a company to collect the dung with a tractor,” said zoologist Amelia Terkel. “But then we thought, why pay for removing it if we could use it ourselves?”
The staff piled the droppings in a heap and a few months later sent a sample of the fermented dung to an laboratory to check their suitability for the trees’ environment.
Two weeks ago the lab results were completed, showing that the dung would be excellent for fertilizing the trees in addition to saving water.
And like many zoological parks worldwide, the safari is acting to become “greener,” said Terkel.
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