Woodland exhibitJaguar2

Kamodo close-upJaguar

Toxic Animal Waste

Woodland Park Zoo came to Earthfort in 2005 with a unique challenge: could we help them mitigate the toxic dung of their popular Komodo dragon exhibit?


At Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, cleaning up after the animals is always a messy business. Yet in some cases, it is a dangerous task. Managing the Komodo Dragon’s habitat in the Zoo was extremely difficult and expensive due to high levels of hazardous E. coli and Salmonella bacteria in the dragon’s dung. At the start of this project, zookeepers had 25 yards of contaminated sand and soil that needed removal by hand and with protective equipment. Then this needed to be disposed of as ‘hot soil’ – hazardous waste.

The exhibit soil was tested by Earthfort for E. coli and other biology in the waste soil, before and after application of our ProVide and ReVive product line of bio-process technology. After the very first application of the technology, the Komodo dragon exhibit’s high E.coli populations (540 mpn) were reduced to insignificant, normal levels (less than 2 mpn).  In addition, Zoo’s animal management staff were left with about 3 yards of contaminated latrine sand, rather than dispose of 25 yards of contaminated substrate. This saved about 30 hours of labor, $1000 in waste disposal fees, and about $250 in substrate cost. With product applications, adding fresh, quality compost, and applying compost tea on a regular basis, the zoo’s regular tests now show normal E. coli levels, and odor is kept to a minimum.

As a result of the huge success they had with the Komodo dragon exhibit, the Zoo uses our products and compost tea in interior exhibits of ocelots, monkeys, jaguars, snow leopards, and goats, and throughout the Zoo’s garden areas to eliminate odor and control unwanted or hazardous organisms.  Zoo staff now request soil tests in advance of changing exhibit substrates to remediate the hazardous organisms, reducing unnecessary substrate removal and monitoring progress of healthy, well-managed soil. Overall, application of the technology in the Komodo dragon and other exhibits has saved the zoo about $100,000 per year, and more in time and labor.

We are proud to support the mission of Woodland Park Zoo, as each dollar saved on waste disposal is a dollar used to meet their conservation goals worldwide. For more information about Woodland Park Zoo, visit www.zoo.org.