Intelligent Crows Clean For Their Grub At French Theme Park
It's a waste disposal system to crow about.
A theme park in Western France has found a cheap, efficient and entertaining way to keep its grounds clean.
Puy du Fou has enlisted the help of six crows to start litter patrol next week, after being specially trained to pick up cigarette ends and rubbish in exchange for a food reward.
The park believes its unique cleaning system could revolutionise the way we clean up litter.
The six crows are rooks, members of the family Corvidae family, known for their intelligence and greediness -- which makes them perfect for the task.
They collect the litter in their beaks then deposit it into a small box which delivers bird food as a reward.
Head of the Puy du Fou park Nicolas de Villiers said the project wasn't just about keeping the park clean.
"The goal is not just to clear up, because the visitors are generally careful to keep things clean" but also to show that "nature itself can teach us to take care of the environment," de Villiers told Agence France Presse.
But the project is not enitrely without its pitfalls. The Park revealed on its blog the rooks are so intelligent they sometimes try to deceive them -- delivering pieces of wood into their reward box!
While it is the first known project to put rooks on cleaning duty, it is not the first time they have been trained to collect items for food rewards.
In 2008 U.S. technologist Joshua Klein created a "crow vending machine" that rewarded crows with peanuts when they dropped loose change into a slot.
Puy du Fou is a historical theme park in Les Epesses in the heart of the Vendée region of Western France. It attracts more than 2 million visitors every year, making it the second most popular theme park in France after Disneyland Paris.