China Using Monkeys to Keep Birds from Parade ; Military Trains Macaques to Destroy Nests, Clearing Beijing Airspace for Jets

By Buckley, Christopher | International New York Times, September 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

China Using Monkeys to Keep Birds from Parade ; Military Trains Macaques to Destroy Nests, Clearing Beijing Airspace for Jets


Buckley, Christopher, International New York Times


The air force has been using macaques to destroy the nests of birds that might get sucked into the engines of fighter jets during a World War II parade.

The Chinese government has countless worries about mishaps that might besmirch its quest for a perfectly staged military parade.

Officials have ordered that there be no peeking from your window in Beijing when troops march along Chang'an Avenue on Thursday, marking 70 years since the end of World War II. Remove scissors from offices near the parade. No cooking on gas stoves. No spontaneous crowds gawking on sidewalks. Even stray birds are a gnawing worry for officials.

But the Chinese Air Force says it has deployed an "ecological" solution to any birds that might foul up the engines of fighter jets involved in the parade: vandalistic monkeys.

In recent days, Chinese news websites have featured macaques trained to clamber up trees near a People's Liberation Army air base and tear apart birds' nests.

"The traditional method of dismantling bird nests using humans is high cost and low efficiency," an unnamed officer told China National Radio. "So we thought up training macaques to climb up trees and dismantle them."

Some secrecy surrounds the program.

The news reports did not give the name of the airport where the macaques have been unleashed, along with falcons, to denude the nearby forests and skies of birds.

A group of airport officers thought of training monkeys early last year, and then brought their first recruits from Henan Province, in central China, where they have provided a traditional livelihood for itinerant street performers. …

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