To say that humans are one of the most destructive forces of nature is an understatement. We are capable of creating wonderful things, but we are also very much capable of destructing the very same things we love. One of the hardest things for people to understand is that keeping our planet clean is extremely important for future generations. That is why the Puy du Fou Theme Park, in the west of France, has decided to put some unusual employees to work. Six trained crows started picking the trash left by humans, in order to send one powerful message.The theme park, which is located in a rural area, is famous for its many attractions and events. Among them, the Roman chariot races, sword fights, Viking attacks, and even a falconry show. Puy du Fou is full of life, and that, unfortunately, causes some unwanted behavior.
The park is pretty clean, and there’s an active cleaning staff that takes care of picking up the trash that’s left behind, but Puy du Fou asks a very important question. Why can’t people pick up after themselves? That’s why they came up with a brilliant idea to show folks that even animals can pick up trash that was left by humans.
They were trained to pick up leftover trash, small pieces of paper, and even cigarette butts. In exchange, these helpful little buddies get food. So Boubou, Bricole, Bill, Bamboo, Black and Baco started working their new gig this past Monday.
Nicolas de Villiers also told NPR that the purpose of the crows picking up the trash is to, “educate the people, to open their minds, to think, ‘OK, the birds are able to do something that we are much more able to do than them, so we should do this by ourselves.'” Cigarette butts, in particular, are left behind by unsuspecting smokers who don’t realize that they’re littering and contaminating the park.
But where did De Villiers get this brilliant idea to use rooks as garbage collectors? Well, the theme park hosts several events and shows, such as the falconry show. One of the falconers, Christophe Gaborit, had managed to train crows to pick up roses, and then had them take them to a castle in order to gift them to a “princess.”
Instead of picking up roses, he would have the rooks pick up cigarette butts and small pieces of papers, and instead of taking them to a princess castle, they’d have to drop them inside a tiny wooden box.
“They pick up the papers on the floor, and they are rewarded,” he stated. So if you’re wondering if the rooks are actually being forced, then there’s the answer. Not only do they have a blast playing around, picking items and dropping them inside a container, but they also anxiously wait for the delicious treats they get after a job well done.
As it turns out, birds that are within the crow family are known for being ultra intelligent, and when they’re found in the wild, they’re prone to using tools as well. They’ve also been observed making plans, which is fascinating all on its own. Among other things, crows have the ability to remember human faces, so when a human has fed them food, they’ve been known to have brought back gifts in order so show their appreciation.
This genius system uses two sections on a box that is made out of wood. On one section, it allows the birds to leave the trash they’ve picked up. On the other side, it offers the rooks their treat. But de Villiers doesn’t advise anyone to try this at home, as the park is licensed and has a full staff of professional trainers who know how to train falcons and other different birds. Regular folks simply shouldn’t attempt to do this without a license.
Not only are they capable of picking up trash, but they also send a powerful message to us humans. If birds can be trained to pick up after us, then why can’t we learn to start being more mindful, and pick up after ourselves? It’s time to start pitching in!