Elephant dung sell like
hot cake as mosquito repellent
By Imran Khan
(Bihar), Nov 21 (IANS) Elephant dung is selling like hot cake
at the famous annual cattle fair here for use as a mosquito
repellent and also as fuel.
high demand for elephant dung as a mosquito repellent has
made it much sought after at this cattle fair, about 35 km
from Bihar capital Patna. "We are selling elephant dung;
it is in high demand," Arvind Kumar Singh, owner of an
elephant told IANS here.
said villagers have traditionally bought elephant dung to
use as mosquito repellent. When it's burnt, the smoke is considered
as an instant killer of mosquitoes.
dung is the cheapest mosquito repellent. And like herbal medicines,
it has no side effects," says Maheshwar Rai, a cattle
farmer who bought five kg for Rs.20.
said that he would use the dung "to save my family and
half a dozen cows from the mosquito menace, which becomes
very bad in early winter".
buyer, Satyendra Mahato of neighbouring Vaishali district,
said that elephant dung is more effective than any other mosquito
repellent available in the market. "Ten kg of elephant
dung is enough for my family to get rid of mosquitoes and
keep us warm on winter nights."
Kumar, the mahout (caretaker) of an elephant, said that he
collects the dung every night and sells it in the day. "It
is a business for us, just like cow owners sell milk."
Kumar, a forest department official on duty at the cattle
fair, said that the demand for elephant dung was far higher
this year. "Earlier there were a few buyers who used
to take it away at throwaway prices."
prefer elephant dung as a mosquito repellent because it does
not pollute," he added.
70 elephants are at the fair this year. They are brought here
for show, as their sale at the fair is banned under wildlife
protection laws, said another forest department official,
C.P. Khanduja. Elephants are big attractions at the fair,
especially for tourists.
there are unofficial reports that elephants are bought and
sold at the fair in the garb of gifting them.
nearly-month-long fair, spread across 500 acres near the confluence
of two rivers - the Ganga and the Gandak - has been held every
year for centuries.
fair, which begins on the auspicious Kartiki Purnima day,
is perhaps the only one of its kind in the entire sub-continent
where many birds and animals - including parrots, eagles,
elephants, horses, sheep, goats and buffaloes - are bought
Khan can be contacted at Imran.firstname.lastname@example.org)