Sri Lanka is home to about a tenth of the world’s total 40,000 Asian elephants in the wild. However, elephants in Sri Lanka are being killed at an alarming rate—not for their tusks, meat, or hides—but simply because they interfere with agriculture. The elephant is running out of space in Sri Lanka; their sheer size and gargantuan appetite make them a threat to crops in farming communities.
Although there are no easy solutions for resolving the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka, much depends on how humans who live there perceive the worth of the elephant. Defenders of wildlife are now convinced that the only way for elephants and humans to co-exist successfully in the same environment is through developing ways in which the elephant is proven to be a sustainable economic resource.
Elephant dung may be the answer
It is a commodity that is freely available. On average, an adult elephant produces about 500 lbs. per day. Since an elephant’s diet is all vegetarian, the waste produced is basically raw cellulose. Thoroughly cleaned and processed, the cellulose is converted into a uniquely beautiful textured product. This acid-free, linen-like paper, marketed as Ellie Pooh paper, is made into art projects, notebooks, cards, and other exotic gifts.
All of the Ellie Pooh paper products are 100% recycled. They are made up of 30% fiber from elephant dung and 70% recycled paper. Only all-natural vegetative binding agents, along with water-soluble salt dyes for coloring, are used in the paper making process.
The paper making process also provides sustainable papermaking and artisan jobs in the Kegalle district of Sri Lanka. These jobs help build support of the local communities and are essential to the success of conservation efforts. The workers live local to the factory, and can conveniently walk to work. To earn extra income, artisans may also take work home.
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Information and pictures from Mrelliepooh.com