The Chinese air force has a new secret weapon to protect one of its bases: macaques.
These fuzzy new recruits have been called upon after numerous methods to rid a base of an abundance of migrating birds--from sending soldiers scampering high up into trees to training eagles and setting up sound and light effects--fell flat. Birds are a headache world-wide in the aviation industry because they can get stuck in the engines of aircraft.
Soldiers have trained the monkeys, according to the official People's Liberation Army-run news portal, to scamper up trees and rip down the birds' nests, with one monkey able to destroy six to eight birds' nests per day. Two macaques have cleared about 180 nests in the month since the PLA adopted them, according to the report.
The macaques' odor is also said to repel the birds from rebuilding their nests at the same spots, according to a local expert whom the report quotes.
Pictures taken by a military reporter and posted online show two monkeys, whom their handlers call 'loyal soldiers,' squatting on the top of a rock engraved with words that mean 'loyalty' in Chinese. Staring into the distance, the monkeys seem to understand the meaning of the phrase.
If the macaques keep up their good work, perhaps the military will consider commissioning a love song for them, as it recently did for its aircraft carrier.