Six crows have been trained to pick up litter and will be put to work at Puy du Fou theme park in the western Vendee region, France.
The crows will collect and deposit small bits of rubbish – including cigarette butts – into a box which will then deliver a piece of food.
Nicolas de Villiers, the resort’s president, said: “The goal is not just to clear up, because the visitors are generally careful to keep things clean, but to show nature itself can teach us to take care of the environment.”
The park will specifically use rooks, members of the crow family, because of their intelligence. de Villiers said: “They like to communicate with humans and establish a relationship through play.”
Recent studies have revealed the intelligence of crows. In one, crows were given a piece of card and a vending machine that would only release food when a particular sized piece of paper was put into it. All of the crows tested were able to cut down the piece of card to the right size and put it in the vending machine.
Puy du Fou has thrived by being different. Its world-renowned shows have catapulted the family-run business in rural France into the position of the nation’s number one park after Disney.
Each year, from April to September, over two million people (2.26m in 2017) come to see thousands of performers, or ‘Puyfolais‘, bring history to life. Puy du Fou’s (pronounced “Pwee du Foo”) offer is so remarkable, and its team so committed, that no one has copied it with any notable success. The park has won fans far and wide and receives weekly requests to develop new projects around the world. After giving birth to two additional shows in Europe, a new park is on the way soon to Spain. At least one Chinese project is on the horizon too.