Crows are extremely intelligent animals and now their intelligence is helping clean littered city streets.
It’s no secret that crows are clever. Like other members of the corvid family, crows live in communities known as roosts and are known to scavenge their food. Researchers are fascinated by the birds—even discovering that they can understand the concept of zero. A Swedish entrepreneur named Christian Günther-Hanssen, founder of Corvid Cleaning, is harnessing this avian brilliance to save his city money. He has invented a method to train crows to pick up cigarette butts and other litter.
Litter removal is a hefty municipal expense. The Swedish city of Södertälje spends 20 million Swedish kronor (about $2.2 million ) on street cleaning every year. At least 62% of this debris is cigarette butts. Günther-Hanssen has created a machine which rewards the local wild New Caledonian crows for each butt they remove from the streets and place in the special trash can. These clever birds are about as “smart” as a 7-year-old human. They can be trained by the reward system and even learn the cleaning behavior from one another.
These feathery volunteers could potentially save about 75% of their costs related to cigarette waste. A trial is currently underway to assess the efficacy of Corvid Cleaning’s ingenious new idea.[…]