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IF YOUR neighbour’s cat tends to treat your garden as a lavatory,
forget pepper spray and water pistols — tiger dung could be the
Suburban gardens troubled by unwelcome visitors need a touch of
Sumatra, according to Chessington World of Adventures, which has
auctioned off a year’s supply of the “new black gold” on eBay.
If claims made by the Surrey theme park’s staff prove accurate,
and the dung really does scare away cats and foxes, then tiger
manure could soon be in big demand.
But if Chessington’s zookeepers were hoping to spark a bidding
war, they were disappointed. A single, anonymous individual, known
only by the username finale-silver, offered the starting price of
For the next 12 months, this unopposed enthusiast is now the
rightful owner of all that Chessington’s two Sumatran tigers, Ratna
and Banu, manage to produce.
Zoo managers say that they will donate the money to the NSPCC and
have promised that the dung will be frozen pending collection to
ensure it remains potent.
Tim Rumball, editor of Amateur Gardening magazine, said
that readers regularly contacted him with inquiries about the
“Cats really are the bane of many gardeners’ lives,” he said. “It
is most unpleasant when you are weeding a border or digging up a
nice carrot to plunge your hand into cat poo.
“It’s a clever idea to sell tiger dung — the notion being that
cats won’t go where another feline has established territory — but
we hear of varied results.
“In some cases it seems to scare animals away, and eventually it
will also break down and help feed your garden, but because tigers
are carnivorous this will take a while. And it smells dreadful. You
may end up scaring yourself out of the garden, too.”
Research from Australia suggests that the Chessington
tiger-keepers may be on to something, which will be welcome news for
finale-silver, given the theme park’s strict “no returns” policy.
Scientists from the University of Queensland found that a formula
of the big cats’ droppings warded off wild goats for three days and,
as such, could be used by farmers both as a fertiliser and
Peter Murray, from the institution, said: “You might want to put
it around the perimeter or under each tree so it would cause all
those herbivorous animals to say ‘it’s too scary, there’s something
here that might bite me’.”
But London Zoo said that it would not be distributing tiger dung.
A spokeswoman said: “We do get people asking, but it’s really not
something we do because of the biosecurity risks involved. There may
be things in the faeces that are dangerous to plants or animals.”