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Farmers seek to shoot potato-munching cranes

Farmers seek to shoot potato-munching cranes

Published: 05 Sep 2011 08:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Sep 2011 08:13 GMT+02:00

Exasperated farmers in Jämtland in northern Sweden have grown so tired of their crops being destroyed by cranes that they have sought permission to shoot the endangered birds.

"Before there can be a hunt, other measures to scare them off have to be tried," said Birgitta Hallgren at the county administration board to the Länstidningen i Östersund daily.

So far, farmers have tried in vain to scare off the cranes with propane cannons and fireworks.

Potato crops in Orrviken are reported to be the current target of the cranes, who are picking off the sweet potatoes and any new potatoes that are pushing through the soil.

In nearby Ragunda the voracious birds have eaten up a harvest of 35 tonnes of barley.

As the birds are classified as an endangered species, it is very seldom that permission is granted to shoot them to control numbers.

The methods deployed to scare off the cranes have proved thus far to have only a short-term effect and the administration board has discussed the methods available for warding off the birds.

Local farmer Joakim Nordlund warned that even if permission were granted to shoot the cranes, it is not for certain that the crops will be protected.

"It is not enough just to shoot a few, so that is not a great alternative either," he said.

One alternative under discussion for next year is that some potatoes could be transported to where the birds nest in order to satisfy their hunger and keep them away from the fields.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:30 September 5, 2011 by Keith #5083
As these are an 'endangered species' why, instead of all the costs of preventative measures, is not some form of compensation/subsidy available, either through the Swedish State or the EU, for farmers with 'verifiable damaged crops?'

Surely it is not beyond the intelligence of us humans to figure out a way where we can at least live together with protected wild life.

After all, in Norway the Gov compensates Reindeer 'herders' for Deer lost to incredibly voracious....eagles?
09:55 September 5, 2011 by voiceofreason
If these birds are indeed endangered, then I think there numbers are not significant to cause a concern.

However if they are they are that many as to cause significant crop-loss, i don't think these pests are :endangered"
10:15 September 5, 2011 by eppie
So what about moving your farm somewhere else? It is not like there isn't enough space available in Sweden.

I mean us normal folks also need to move if we find a job in another part of the country.

Or indeed subsidize them a bit....it is not that subsidies are strange to farmers anyway.

Starting to shoot endangered birds seems all a bit ridiculous....not something a normal person would do.
12:34 September 5, 2011 by heu
Common cranes are not endangered, their conservation status is "least concerned" in the IUCN Red List. Still, there are always better alternatives such as the method they use at Hornborgarsjön.
12:56 September 5, 2011 by Svensksmith
We've sent a man to the moon. Seems reasonable to assume that we could figure out some way to keep birds out of potato fields.
13:04 September 5, 2011 by Keith #5083

13:06 September 5, 2011 by jacquelinee
Typical human mindset...........don't try to find an alternative solution, JUST KILL IT!
19:27 September 5, 2011 by jack sprat
So what are they like to eat ?

Just thought one might go down nicely for Sunday lunch with Yorkshire pudding and three veg.

Only asking like. lol.
20:58 September 5, 2011 by skumdum
Soon they say the common brown rat is endangered and anyone who trap and kill rats is a nazi.
08:58 September 6, 2011 by jimmyjamjoojar
I think some of these comments are incredible. How can someone be so stupid as to suggest that the act of not killing an endangered animal is akin to political correctness? (see skundum) Okay, I hope that is a joke but this is a serious matter. Society as a whole has this strange idea that it is ok for us to wipe out creatures we share this planet with in the name of commerce. There is no doubt that we are rapidly destroying this world in the name of greed yet people are still stupid enough to make comments like this. Just remember that Cranes have been migrating that route for thousands of years, we are imposing on and changing their habitat, not the other way around. We have a responsibility to care for these animals and to preserve them for the good of the planet and for future generations.................. It just astonishes and depresses me that people can be so so stupid and mindless, shame on you!
09:19 September 6, 2011 by calebian22
Hire border collies or blue heelers. They do it at some American airports to keep bird populations from being too high. They love to chase and herd things. They don't kill the birds, but it scares the daylights out of them. Problem solved.
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