A historical theme park in France has come up with its own way to clean up after a busy day.
The park is using trained birds to pick up the rubbish. Whilst in Sydney, there are some intrepid ibises who don’t mind a bit of a foray through a garbage bin, in France, it’s crows who are doing the dirty work.
Six rooks – a member of the crow family of birds which also include the carrion crow, jackdaw and raven – have been specially trained to pick up cigarette butts, plastic and other rubbish and will be put to work next week at the Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Vendée, a western region of France.
A professional falconer in Puy du Fou since 1993, Christophe Gaborit couldn’t ignore the waste left by the park’s visitors and instead became hopeful that his birds could potentially be the answer.
In the 2000s, Gaborit decided to try and educate two rooks to collect rubbish. Judged “crazy” by his friends, he persisted and taught the bird a “return for reward” trick, in which the raven will receive a reward for placing rubbish in the correct place.
“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,” Nicolas de Villiers, a representative Puy du Fou, told AFP.
Rooks are considered to be rather intelligent and in the right circumstances “like to communicate with humans and establish a relationship through play”, Villiers continued.
The birds will be encouraged to clean up the park through the use of a small box which delivers a sweet little stash of food each time the bird deposits a plastic straw or small piece of rubbish, he added.
Sydney’s ibises should totally up their game.