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

In fact, the goose could have an advantage over man’s best friend, especially because birds are more selective when it comes to sounding the alarm, says Petr Glazov, chairman of the goose specialist group. International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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

BIRDS OF AUTHORITY

Before enrolling the geese, probably raised on nearby farms, the Chinese government first conducted a trial with a small group in June 2021.

During this experiment, geese were found to be even more sensitive to strangers and noise than dogs, the news organization reported. Morning news from the south of the country state-funded. A few months later, the local government decided to deploy geese along 300 border checkpoints.

The ability of the geese is not a real surprise to Lauren Thielen, a veterinarian who has worked with domestic geese at Texas Avian and Exotics Hospital near Dallas.

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

“I’ve seen it in both Canada’s wild geese protecting their young and China’s domestic geese protecting their environment. I still see them as captive birds,” he adds.

VERY DEVELOPED SENSES

About thirty species of wild geese live on every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica. These birds, which nest mainly on the ground, have an excellent view that has evolved over time to detect 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 their brain awake and the eye connected to it open to detect threats: a rare phenomenon known as unihemispheric sleep. “They are always in control of the situation,” he explains.

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

In addition, guard geese are less expensive: they are cared for, fed on grass and do not require veterinary care.

AND THE DOGS?

Dogs have an advantage over geese because they can be trained to play multiple roles, says Ambrose Contreras, a 341-year-old dog trainer.i US Air Force Training Squadron, a group specializing in the training of detection and patrol dogs.

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

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

341 patrol dogsi The squadron must be able to detect a person’s odor at least 45 meters away and listen at least 30 meters away before undergoing more advanced and specialized training.

Although the guard goose in charge of alerting authorities to border intruders in 2021 was widely celebrated in the Chongzuo state newspapers, a dog also intercepted an illegal immigrant in August 2021.

At the moment, in any case, they are two points for the goose, and one point for the guard dog.

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