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Farmers seek to shoot potato-munching cranes

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Farmers seek to shoot potato-munching cranes
08:13 CEST+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.

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