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70th anniversary of Japan's WW2 surrender

You can pay them peanuts! China hires monkeys to clear the skies of birds ahead of war parade

Military staff train the creatures to dismantle nests on trees; they also use eagles to 'patrol the skies' to drive away other birds

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 August, 2015, 7:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 11:54am

Monkeys have been trained to clear the skies of the biggest threat to China’s air force at the moment – birds – as Beijing prepares for its massive military parade this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

Pictures from July show military personnel instructing monkeys to dismantle the nests of birds on trees at an unspecified air force base used for parade training.

Read more: 'Full body search' for 10,000 pigeons in Tiananmen Square

The military base was situated along a migration route for birds, which undermined the safety of the military’s flight training, said trainer Wang Mingzhi, who is responsible for clearing the birds near the base.

Birds can cause severe damage to planes when they collide.

“No one can climb trees as tall as 30 metres,” Wang said. “With shotguns, we can blow off only two nests with a box of bullets. If we use water cannon, it would be a waste of water and human resources.”

The officers have five monkeys, who together can dismantle 60 nests a day. The base also trains eagles to drive away other birds.

Beijing has also banned people from releasing pigeons for half a day on Thursday, when the parade will take place.