Organic practices at Mysore zoo

Organic practices at Mysore zoo


The Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore, one of the oldest zoos in India, houses a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. These animals, numbering over 1000, produce on an average 1,200 kgs of dung everyday. In addition to this, production of garbage from enclosures is around 200 kgs.

Then, there are huge quantities of organic waste and fodder in addition to vegetable, kitchen waste and fallen leaves in the zoo. Earlier, only farmyard dung was sold at the rate of Rs 500 per truck load. The unused dung and garbage was found scattered in an unhygienic manner. To tackle this problem, the zoo came up with the idea of converting organic waste into vermicompost in 2004. Preparing vermicompost from animal dung and other organic wastes helped improve sanitation in the zoo premises, apart from generating considerable revenue in order to achieve self-sustenance. “This manure is effective for agricultural and horticultural crops and ornamental plants,” says zoo manager Shivanna.

Sources and process

The dung generated from herbivorous animals such as Asian elephants, African elephants, African rhinos, hippos and gaur is a major source for vermicomposting. There are eight Indian elephants, two African elephants, two rhinos, 27 gaurs and six hippopotamuses in the Mysore zoo.

The zoo uses the Eudrilus eugenae species as they are prolific breeders with high multiplication rate. The bed method of vermicomposting is being adopted. The dung from the enclosure is separately brought to the vermicompost yard and heaped. After 8-10 days of collection, it is sufficient to make one bed.  The partially decomposed, rotten green material is placed over the heaped dung and mixed thoroughly and made into a bed. Regular watering is done twice a day for ten days, then once in a day for another ten days and on alternate days till the vermicomposting is complete.

Ever since March 2005, the zoo has been selling vermicompost at the rate of Rs 5 per kg up to 50 kilos and Rs 4 per kg if more than 50 kgs are purchased. Farmers, planters and gardeners are major buyers.

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