The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base has come up with a dung-for-profit scheme that turns droppings from the endangered species into odor-free souvenirs ranging from bookmarks to Olympic-themed statues of the animals, state media and base officials said Monday.
The facility in the southwestern province of Sichuan houses about 40 bamboo-fed pandas who produce less than a ton of excrement a day.
"We used to spend at least 6,000 yuan ($770) a month to get rid of the droppings but now they can be lucrative," Jing Shimin, assistant to the base director, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
The products will be made at a local handicraft company mostly from undigested bamboo culled from the panda waste through a special process, Xinhua said.
An official who answered the phone at the Chengdu facility said the dung is "carefully selected, smashed, dried and sterilized at 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit)." He refused to give his name but said the products will be of all colors because they will be dyed.
"They don't smell too bad because 70 percent of the dung is just remains of the bamboo that the pandas are unable to digest," Jing said.
Nice. They'll probably make a fortune, too.