Topeka Zoo Turns Endangered Feces Into Unique Art

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TOPEKA ZOO -- Let the scatological phrases begin. Zoo Poo. Zoo Doo. Dung. Scat. Whatever you want to call it, one thing is for sure. A lot of it is produced daily at the Topeka Zoo. However, what you may not know is the importance of that animal dung in the wild.

Elephant poop in particular serves a unique purpose in the wild. Thanks to the elephant diet of plants and fruit, the elephants waste contains lots of seeds that, with the nutrient-rich excrement, germinate well in the African forests. Unfortunately, a decrease in the forest elephant population has resulted in a lack of poop, causing a huge ecological difference. With less elephants, there is less and less waste and that affects the forest and all other animals that reside in it.

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 Pooh”. After collecting the perfect specimens, the dung is allowed to fully dry. Following the proper curing, the dung is created 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!

The sale of “My Pet Poo” will begin this Sunday, November 7th at the Arts and Crafts fair sponsored by Friends of the Topeka Zoo. The fair, held in the Big Gage Shelter House, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will feature over 20 local and regional craftsman and artisans. Friends of the Topeka Zoo will be on hand to showcase “Pet Poo” as well as other unique zoo gift ideas including memberships, bricks, benches, and more. In addition, they will be featuring artwork made by the animal residents of the Topeka Zoo. Original paintings by Tembo and Sunda, the zoos resident elephants as well as kisses by Tucker, the Nile Hippo will be available for purchase.

The Zoos Pet Poo will also be sold in the Leopard Spot Gift Shop located inside the Topeka Zoo. For more information on “My Pet Poo” call 368-9162.