Museums Exhibits

Guests at Prague Zoo can transform elephant dung into paper

Elephants chew on branches at their enclosure in the zoo in Prague, Czech Republic.

Elephants chew on branches at their enclosure in the zoo in Prague, Czech Republic.

At first, their elephant dung was sold to gardeners as fertilizer. Now Prague Zoo has come up with a new use for it: making paper.

The zoo has joined forces with the country’s famed hand paper mill in Velke Losiny to process the manure to be used in traditional paper-making techniques.

Petr Foucek, a director from Velke Losiny, says the 420-year-old mill has made paper from all sorts of materials but elephant dung “is something new for us.”

Visitors will be able to make their own paper at a new zoo facility starting Friday. The announcement comes almost five years after the zoo began selling elephant dung in 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) containers.

The brains behind the project is zoo director Miroslav Bobek, whose surname literally means “dung” in Czech.