Feeds

Tokyo battles monstrous murder of crows

'They have returned', admits shaken crowfinder general

The Power of One Infographic

Tokyo is renewing its bitter battle against crows which, despite the city's best efforts to wipe them out, continue to circle over its mean streets in search of unprotected rubbish and unsuspecting air-to-ground attack victims.

The war on the massed squadrons of jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) began back in 2001, when one of the devilish creatures unwisely decided to attack governor Shintaro Ishihara while he was playing golf.

According to the Washington Post, Ishihara declared: "I intend to make crow-meat pies Tokyo's special dish."

By that fateful date, Tokyo's crow numbers had risen from 7,000 in 1985 to an estimated 36,400. The birds regularly ripped open rubbish bags, dive-bombed cowering locals and even menaced the high-speed internet system by making off with fibre-optic cabling.

Cue a concerted campaign against the beasts, including crow-proof tarpaulins to protect rubbish bags, and traps baited with lard or mayonnaise. Those crows foolish enough to be captured were gassed with carbon monoxide and consigned to the incinerator.

However, despite having lost 105,392 individuals at the last count, at a cost of $5.3m to the powers that be, the population of the Tokyo murder of crows still stands at 21,200 and rising.

The problem is that three years ago, the authorities' extermination programme began to run out of steam. Old crow traps weren't replaced, and budget cuts meant less lard and mayonnaise were available to bait them.

Residents, too, started to get a bit careless with their trash-protecting tarps, while older crows became increasingly savvy, learning to remove the tarpaulins and avoid the traps.

A shaken Naoki Satou, the crowfinder general leading Tokyo's anti-crow struggle, admitted: "Yes, they have returned."

In the end, experts reckon, the only way to tackle is the problem is sort out the rubbish issue. Hiroshi Kawachi, of the Wild Bird Society of Japan, said that when he observed the animals' habits in the upmarket Ginza district, their numbers declined by a half when restaurant garbage was collected at night, rather than in the late morning after a period of daylight which favoured corvine breakfast habits. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.