The Teton Raptor Center’s Port-O-Potty Owl Project, affectionately known as the “Poo-Poo Project” aims to prevent wildlife entrapment within vent pipes found on vault toilets throughout the U.S. through the design, distribution and installation of special screen covers. Within the last week, the project hit a significant milestone, marking over 5,000 screens distributed.
Each year thousands of cavity-nesters, animals that prefer dark, narrow spaces for nesting and roosting, become entrapped in vertical open pipes such as ventilation pipes, claim stakes, and chimneys. Vault toilets, the self-contained restrooms found in many of America’s wilderness areas, feature vertical ventilation pipes that mimic the natural cavities preferred by various bird species for nesting and roosting.
In 2010, Teton Raptor Center (TRC), with the support of a 1% for the Tetons grant, initiated a community-driven project to install 100 screens on the ventilation pipes of vault toilets throughout Grand Teton National Park, as well as the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests. Since the pilot project, TRC developed a special screen design to mitigate wildlife entrapment, creating a conservation solution to a national-scale problem and increasing awareness to this wildlife hazard and accessibility to this product by reducing the price from other screen covers by over 70%.
This once localized initiative is now celebrating its 5,000thscreen sold. The screens can be found throughout 15 states, from Alaska to Texas. And, in March 2014, Teton Raptor Center was awarded the “Wings Across the Americas Award for Habitat and Partnership” from the U.S. Forest Service in recognition of the conservation impact of the Poo-Poo Project
TRC saw a surge in Poo-Poo screen sales after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service released an agency publication titled “Keeping Wildlife Out of Vent Pipes, Chimneys, and Flues,” recommending screens on vault toilet vents earlier this year.
“We are proud of the success of the Poo-Poo Project, made possible through so many partnerships with public lands managers, volunteers and conservationists. This project is a model for the innovative solutions that Teton Raptor Center endeavors to pursue to help protect the wildlife we love. While we’ve hit the 5,000-mark for caps sold, we know there’s so much work left to do to elevate awareness and understanding of the hazards of open pipes on both public and private lands,” said Amy McCarthy, TRC’s Executive Director.
Photo Credit: Teton Raptor Center