Elephants being put to good use

The elephant- so many things we can say about this largest land animal in the world. Did you know that elephants have poor eyesight, but their sense of smell is great?  Did you know elephants are highly sensitive and caring animals? If a baby elephant complains, the entire family will go over to touch and caress it. Elephants express grief, compassion, self-awareness, altruism and play. What else didn’t you know about these animals.

You can read some more interesting facts here.

One thing for sure that you didn’t know is how elephants are helping local people in Kenya be less poor and reducing the number of trees being illegally logged each year. How?  you may ask.

Well, local people are being employed in the collecting and re processing of the animals’ poop and making paper.

Yes it really is true. Paper is being made from the elephant’s waste.

Kenya’s elephant dung paper industry is centred on the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, a community-owned 36 sq km conservation area for elephants near Mombasa.

The farmers had for generations put up with elephants from the nearby government-owned Shimba Hills National Reserve walking into their farmlands and eating or destroying crops. This resulted in serious conflicts between humans and elephants.

So the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary was established.

The idea was that the farmers would receive a share of the tourism revenues from the sanctuary to make up for any crops that are destroyed by elephants.

In addition, the sanctuary motivates farmers to explore additional ways to make money, such as bee keeping, and selling elephant dung for turning into paper, or making the paper themselves.

On average an elephant’s poop can produce about 125 sheets of A4 sized paper each day.

You can read more on the story here– and if you’re interested in learning more about the process, here’s a video to watch.

Vocabulary

  • Grief (noun): sadness
  • Logged (verb): cut down
  • Poop(noun): faeces
  • Put up with (verb): tolerated
  • Crops (noun): plants of food
  • Revenues(noun): profits
  • Make up for ( verb): compensate
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