Rubbish-collecting crows a star attraction at French theme park

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A crow drops a cigarette end in a box in exchange for food on the parking lot of Le Puy du Fou, in Les Epesses, western France. Six crows specially trained to pick up cigarette ends and rubbish were put to work last week at the historical theme park. (AFP)
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A crow picks up a cigarette end on the parking lot of Le Puy du Fou, in Les Epesses, western France. Six crows specially trained to pick up cigarette ends and rubbish were put to work last week at the historical theme park. (AFP)
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Christophe Gaborit, in charge of falconry at Le Puy du Fou theme park, looks at one of his crows, trained to collect cigarette ends and thrash from the parking lot of the historical theme park. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Rubbish-collecting crows a star attraction at French theme park

  • The birds have been picking up litter on the site that features shows and rides themed around different periods of history
  • The black rooks were chosen for their intelligence and have been trained to take small items of litter to a special wooden box

PUY-DU-FOU, France: Visitors to a theme park in western France this week have a new attraction to enjoy: six crows that have been specially trained to pick up cigarette ends and rubbish.
The birds have been in action since Monday at the Puy du Fou park, picking up litter on the site that features shows and rides themed around different periods of history.
The black rooks, a member of the crow family, were chosen for their intelligence and have been trained to take small items of litter to a special wooden box in exchange for a tasty nugget of bird food for each deposit.
There have been some instances of cheating, however, with some of the crows attempting to steal rubbish from others to win the rewards.
“It’s ecological, it’s practical and it’s fun to see,” Swiss tourist Dorothee Haefliger told AFP.
The managers of the park say the experiment is designed to make visitors more aware about litter.
“We can see litter here on the car park and the crows are picking it up,” Christophe Gaborit, who is in charge of falconry at the park, told AFP.
He stood holding the wooden box and dispensing the bird food for each piece of collected rubbish.
“That’s not normal. It’s up to us, humans, to take care of it. That’s the ultimate message,” he added.
He said that he had always loved rooks, adding that they are under-appreciated birds.
“People see it differently, so that makes me happy,” he said. “We’ve changed its image and that’s really interesting.”


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
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Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.