Sunday 05 December 2021

Schiphol drafts in 20 pigs to keep the geese away from runways

Photo: Schiphol

Pigs are being drafted in to help keep birds away from the runways at Schiphol airport in a six week experiment, according to a report in the Telegraaf.

In total, 20 pigs have been moved to former sugar beet fields between two of the airport’s runways and officials hope they will eat the harvest leftovers before the birds move in. The pigs have almost two kilometres of farmland to roam.

To find out how many birds the pigs scare away, a second area of similar size will be left alone and the coming weeks, bird activity in the area with the pigs will be compared to the reference plot.

The success of the project will be measured using a special bird radar which will map the areas at Schiphol and its surroundings that are frequented most by birds, along with visual observations, the airport told DutchNews.nl.

Twenty bird controllers are currently keeping track of bird activity at the airport and work throughout the airfield to keep the birds away round the clock, using technology varying from special sounds to laser beams.

Other measures are also in place to keep the airfield as unappealing as possible for birds such using special types of grass. Mass culls of geese have also been carried out.

Nevertheless, every year there are dozens of ‘bird strikes’, involving collisions between planes and geese. In 2018, 6.6 bird strikes were recorded per 10,000 air transport movements, Schiphol said.

The pigs are owned by pig farm Buitengewone Varkens, which provides porcine help to landowners who want to manage their woods and fields without using artificial aids

The pigs will end up being killed for food.

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