Elephants produce a huge amount of dung. On average, a grown Asian elephant consumes around 150 - 200 kilograms of food every day. Nearly 80% of an elephant's day is spent feeding and this can produce up to 100 kilograms of excrement. It’s fascinating to discover that this poop can be useful in many ways for both people and nature.
Ways humans can use elephant poo
An elephant only digests about 45% of its food. The waste product is mostly fibre. The dung can be used for a variety of purposes, making it an ecofriendly material with benefits.
Elephant dung can be made into paper. The dung of one elephant can provide about 115 sheets of paper per day. Using elephant poop paper reduces deforestation and saves the indigenous tree populations of nearby forests from being destroyed.
There are also some delicious benefits of elephant dung too. Coffee beans can be collected from their stools, then washed dried and roasted by brewers, before being sold as an expensive variety of coffee.
Elephant dung can repel mosquitos. Surprisingly, elephant dung is a natural, non-polluting, effective mosquito repellent. Light up a piece of poop and notice that the mosquitos will fly away instantly (please note, there is no need to apply the dung to the skin). Also, the fumes from burning elephant dung can also be used as a mild painkiller.
Elephant poo and the ecosystem
Elephants play an important biological role within the forest for the dispersal of plant seeds. Their dung conserves plants and trees as a soil fertiliser. Elephants deposit dung that is full of seeds from the many plants they eat. Given the distance of elephants’ large home ranges, plant species can be dispersed far away. When this dung is deposited, the seeds are sown and grow into new grasses, bushes, trees and provides home and food for several species of insects, boosting the health of the ecosystem.
Who knew dung could be such a precious resource.