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27. May 2016

Kenyan entrepreneurs have ventured into an alternative way of producing paper from elephant dung thus bringing significant hope in reduction of poaching and illegal logging

Most of the food (grass and plant) ingested by an elephant is excreted as a whole and therefore contains a lot of fibre. The dung is first thoroughly washed and boiled for 3-4 hours to ensure it's clean and soft. It is  then either processed  similar to paper from wood pulp or first mixed with collected paper trash from offices and shreded to blend it with the dung fibre pulp.The fibre is usually brown.But bleaches and different colour dyes are used to increase the variety, with shades of reds and greens being the most popular. Elephant dung paper has a unique texture, like that of papyrus. The quality is determined by the amount of fibre used and the end result are book markers, table coasters, greeting cards, and diaries among other products. An average elephant eats 200-250kg of food daily out of which 50kg of dung is produced which in return produces 100-125 sheets of A4 paper. The price and quality is similar to that of a standard paper.Tourists are the major buyers as well as painters. They are also exported in the USA. Through such paper production initiatives, the animals and the forests are conserved and sustained.