Earth Watch: Animal waste cleanup


“It's disgusting. It smells stinky,” said Kindergarteners at Lowry Park Zoo’s Zoo School.

“One  of the things that you really think about when you think of animals, let’s be honest, you think about poop. You take a deep breath and you can't help but notice it's around. Everyone wants to talk about it and everyone does it,” said Martina Rutti Public Programs Manager Lowry Park Zoo.

There’s plenty of it at Lowry Park Zoo.

“An adult African Bush elephant can actually produce about 300 pounds of poop a day. Each rhino can produce up to 50 pounds of fecal material every single day,” Rutti explained.

Fecal material collected here every year would overflow an Olympic-sized pool.

“Here at the zoo we are always thinking of innovative ways that we can reduce, reuse, recycle,” said Rutti.

Instead of sending it to the landfill, poop is hauled to local farms and repurposed. It’s used for compost and organic fertilizer.

“It's a win win. it's great for them. it's great for us and it's great for the planet. It’s organic, it's free,” she said.

Behind the scenes poop is collected in bins all over the zoo. It’s sent out to organic farms 3-4 times a week.

“People really respond positively to it,” said Rutti.

It gets them thinking about the animals.

“Rhinos are amazing animals and poop is one of the ways they communicate with each other. Their age, their sex, their reproductive cycle and where they're out and about,” she explained.

Educating and helping the environment.


“We're always thinking of ways we can be green and more resourceful. We’ve got a lot of poop to share,” Rutti said.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Earth Watch: Animal waste cleanup
  • Hackers steal almost $30K from Polk Co. charity
  • 57 million Uber riders, drivers possibly affected by data breach that happened in 2016
  • The Dessert Spot is making South Tampa sweeter
  • USF will be an anchor in 'Water Street' project
  • A ‘Kind Mouse' with a big heart
  • Tampa photographer's lens captures young faces of hope
  • Demolition begins in Channelside, paving way to Water Street
  • Piquant's Apple Crostata
  • Earth Watch: Recycling cooking oil