Chinese Air Force Trains Monkeys To Seek & Destroy Bird Nests

China's Air Force doesn't monkey around when it comes to protecting their bases from wayward birds... scratch that, actually they do! A pair of macaques trained to seek out and eliminate bird nests near a PLAAF base are doing just that, destroying 6 to 8 nests per day each and permanently clearing 180 nests in just their first month on duty.

To the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF for short), bird strikes are no laughing matter. Birds that get sucked into aircraft jet engines often cause the planes to lose power, an especially dangerous circumstance when jets are taking off or landing and have little maneuvering room.

The birds nest in the trees surrounding the base and are themselves often taking off and landing when they come in contact with the planes. Authorities at the base have tried time and again to clear the nests from the trees but measures including having soldiers manually destroy them, posting predatory eagles around the base's perimeter, and installing a variety of sound and light effects to frighten the winged menaces have all come to naught. Any remedies employed were only temporary in nature as the birds soon returned and rebuilt their nests.

Enter the macaques: medium-sized, intelligent Old World monkeys abundant in the wild from Japan west to North Africa and southern Europe. Macaques prey on nesting birds and according to folk wisdom, once a macaque destroys a bird nest the nest-builders don't return. Biologists discovered that the monkeys use their scent glands to mark the places they've been; warning both other monkeys and other creatures to avoid the area.

For the PLAAF, the macaques were the answer they'd been long looking for and since they were relatively intelligent, easy to tame and quick to learn, getting them to follow orders, as it were, was as easy as peeling a banana. These images, posted at the PLAAF's official news portal, show the primate privates in action against the base's feathered enemies. The inscription on the rock above reads "loyalty". Nice.