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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

National Zoo revises manure plan if shutdown occurs

By Ed O'Keefe

Panda waste won't pile up in zoo parking lots if a government shutdown occurs. (Post)

Eye Opener

Updated 10:35 a.m. ET
Our initial stories of a potential government shutdown noted that a lack of federal funds might force the National Zoo to amass animal manure in a parking lot.

The anecdote earned just a brief mention, but prompted concerned inquiries from zoo fans and reporters around the world, according to a Smithsonian Institution spokeswoman who contacted The Federal Eye Thursday.

Colleagues couldn't recall the manure incident, she said, but The Post archives show it occurred during the 21-day shutdown of 1995 and 1996:

"Lot E didn't have any cars, but it had piles of chunky elephant, rhino, hippo and giraffe manure," colleague David Montgomery wrote on Jan. 6, 1996. "That's when you know you got yourself a government shutdown. The manure usually is sent to a greenhouse operated by the Smithsonian Institution for composting, but during the shutdown, recycling hippo scat wasn't deemed essential."

Either way, if another shutdown occurs -- still a possibility if budget negotiations between Republicans and the White House don't go well -- the zoo vows not to store any waste in the parking lots, the spokeswoman said. The waste, now composted at a facility in Brookville, Md., would be stored at a spot on the zoo's campus, far away from the parking lots and adjoining roads.

Glad we cleared that up.

By the way, if you're interested in reliving the '95 and '96 shutdowns (or are looking for a good way to kill time on a slow Friday), we've republished some of the classics:

-- What day one of the '95 government shutdown looked like

-- The impact on D.C.; City services cut, city workers furloughed; parking tickets continue

-- Federal workers lives, government services put on hold

-- Some just wouldn't stop working

-- A second shutdown in December 1995

-- Contractors hit hard

-- Travelers stranded; tourism industry loses millions in revenue

-- At the National Zoo, animals, kids recover from shutdown

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

RELATED: Federal Eye government shutdown coverage

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 4, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Government Shutdown  
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Ah yes, what the gubmint does best: shoveling sh--.

Posted by: CubsFan | March 4, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

the Zoo should sell 'zoo poo' once composted. i think there'd be a market for it and it could help close the budget gap.

Posted by: shoekarenyahoocom | March 4, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"HEAVY biomass, dudes! Like, where's Al Gore when you need him?"

Posted by: phvr38 | March 4, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Dump it all on the Capitol steps.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 4, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Boehner rubs it on his face to get that just tanned look.

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 4, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What does the White House do with theirs?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 4, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Just send the manure to Congress. Where it will be in its natural habitat.

Posted by: thrh | March 4, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Boehner's parking spot would be a perfect place to accumulate this stuff during any shutdown. After all, if you shut it down, you clean it up...

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

White House Vegetable Garden: They feed it to Joe Biden.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 4, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Inquiring minds want to know -- Will the custodial staff of the federal buildings adopt the zoo's plan so it can more easily rid the Capitol of the bull puckey that builds up daily on the GOP sides of the aisles in the upper and lower chambers?

Posted by: JoeWB | March 6, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

JoeWB, they're not going to let the Democrats come visit anymore.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 7, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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