"--IANS/EFE"
Beijing, May 8 - The Air Force of the People's Liberation Army - of China has trained a group of macaques to help protect an air base close to Beijing. These monkeys have been put here to take care of the huge flocks of birds that pose a threat to flights.

According to China's Air Force News website, the macaques have been taught to destroy nests in nearby trees and chase away the birds that have become a nuisance during the take-offs and landings of fighter planes in the base whose exact location was not revealed.

The base has used practically every means of tackling the problems of the birds, from firecrackers to scarecrows or even firearms but nothing proved to be as effective as the monkeys which are jokingly referred in military circles as the Chinese army's new secret weapon.

The macaques respond with the obedience of a recruit to the whistles that their trainers use to give them orders and are capable of destroying more than 180 nests close to the base at a rate of around six nests per monkey.

It is certainly not the first army to use domestic animals in the elite forces: The Washington Post daily recalled that the US uses dolphins to detect, locate and mark mines.

However, dogs are the most used animals in armies around the world.

One of the most delicate operations in history that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader, also featured a dog, a Belgian shepherd called Cairo.

--IANS/EFE

ab/tb


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