(CNN) — Pigs may not really fly, but they may have a role until play in to hold air travel safe.
Collisions between planes and larger birds, such as geese, can have serious consequences danger, especially if the animals in the engines are sucked.
The airport saw about 150 bird strikes in Schiphol spokeswoman Willemeike Koster in 2020 to CNN on Wednesday, and the pig pilot is one of various measures die the airport takes to try to bring the number down.
The pilot concerned foraging pigs on a five-hectare plot where sugar beets had recently been harvested in between two start- and runways, the airport said: in a press release in which the project in September.
The pigs were cared for by Extraordinary Pigs, a small pig farm that raises the animals outdoors.
Schiphol approached the company and asked of the pigs were allowed to come and eat the crop residues, what attract geese and other birds, co-owner Stan Gloudemans told CNN on Wednesday.
The first the advantage is that the pigs help to make the area less attractive to birds by removing source of food, Gloudemans said.
AN second advantage is the fact that pigs, as carnivores, also try catch geese that country in the field to rest, he added.
While the pigs can’t move fast enough to actually catch the geese, their efforts to do this mean they act like live scarecrows and chase the birds away, he said.
Gloudemans farm produces about 300 piglets per year year. They are normally used throughout the Netherlands to clear weeds of crop residues from harvests, in instead of as part of airplanes safety measures, he said.
“This was the strangest question,” Gloudemans said, adding, “Next time they may ask me to keep thieves away of something like that.”
Schiphol Airport said the project’s success is measured by analyzing bird activity in the area during the time the pigs were present, compared with when they weren’t.
The airport already has 20 birdwatchers in shift who work around the clock to keep birds away, using technology such as laser beams and sounds. It also plants special types of grass around the . to make area “as unattractive as” possible for birds,” said Koster.
The six-week pilot project ended up in the first week of November, Koster said, adding that it was “informative.” The collected data is examined in the coming months, and a decision on how much longer-term use of pigs are expected early next year, she said.
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