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COVID-19: China deploys an army of geese to fight the spread of the virus

In fact, the goose may have an edge over man’s best friend, not least because birds are more selective when it comes to sounding the alarm, he explains. Petr GlazovPresident of the Goose Specialist Group of the International Union for Nature Conservation.

“Dogs can sometimes sound the alarm just for fun or to talk to dogs. But the geese only do that if an intruder enters their special area, “Glazov explains.

BIRDS OF AUTHORITY

Before enlisting the geese, likely raised on neighboring farms, the Chinese government first conducted a trial with a small group in June 2021.

In this experiment, geese were found to be even more sensitive to strangers and noise than dogs the organization of the press Southern country morning news funded by the state. A few months later, the local government decided to deploy the geese along 300 checkpoints.

The capacity of the geese is not really a surprise Lauren Thielena Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who worked with domestic geese at Texas Avian and Exotics Hospital near Dallas.

“If you enter a goose’s territory, it will almost charge you, scream and use scare tactics, instead of running away like most birds,” Thielen tells us in an email.

“I have seen this in both the wild Canadian geese that protect their young and the domestic Chinese geese that protect their environment. I still see them as bullying birds, “she adds.

HIGHLY DEVELOPED SENSES

About thirty species of wild geese live on all continents of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. These birds, which mainly nest on the ground, have excellent eyesight that have evolved over time to spot predators approaching from a distance. They can also use and control each eye independently, giving them a wider field of view.

When they sleep, geese can also keep one side of the brain awake and open the eye attached to it to detect threats: a rare phenomenon known as unhemispheric sleep. “They are always in control of the situation,” she explains.

Wild geese, such as barnacles in northern Europe and Russia, usually use “safety geese” placed on the fringes of groups to warn of threats. According to Glazov, geese are so good at detecting danger that ducks and cranes sometimes feed among their geese as a safety measure.

In addition, guard geese are less expensive – they take care of themselves, feed on grass, and do not require veterinary care.

AND FOR DOGS?

Dogs have an advantage over geese because they can be trained to play multiple roles, says Ambrose Contreras, dog trainer at the 341And United States Air Force Training Squadrona group specializing in the training of detection and patrol dogs.

“Can we train a goose? Probably, but it would be very difficult, “he explains. According to Contreras, in general, dogs are even more intimidating:” I would be less likely to try to do something mischievous by seeing a dog and its owner than a boy with a goose. ” .

And when it comes to smell, “dogs’ olfactory system is on a scale of its own,” he says.

341 patrol dogsAnd the squadron must be able to detect the smell of a person at least 45 meters away and hear at least 30 meters away before undergoing more advanced and specialized training.

Although the watch goose tasked with alerting authorities to border intruders in 2021 was highly praised by state newspapers in Chongzuo, a dog reportedly intercepted an illegal immigrant in August 2021.

For the moment, however, there are two points for the goose and one point for the guard dog.

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