Parisians Unite in defence of pigeons
One person’s favourite bird to feed is another man’s flying rat. Pigeons often prove to be a divisive subject wherever they settle. So, the recent events in Paris should come as no surprise.
In common with most major cities around the world, Paris is home to a large number of pigeons. The birds are a nightmare to control and cause major issues with their droppings. The mayor of the 10th arrondissement, Remy Féraudhas, decided to do something about the pigeon problem in his area of the city. Pigeon spikes and lofts with sterilisers have failed to make an impact so he has drafted in the services of two hawks and three falcons to scare off the birds.
Birds of Prey Cause Outrage
Predictably, local pigeon enthusiasts are outraged by the proposed scare tactics. The Ambassade des Pigeons and the Charity Ligue Pour La Protection des Oiseaux have launched an objection to the mayor’s plans. The resulting petition has so far garnered 20,000 signatures.
Health Risks and Damage
Whilst the mayor believes that the pigeons pose a health risk for the local residents, bird enthusiasts complain that the tactic is costly for the taxpayer and will yield only temporary results. They believe that the birds will merely take refuge in neighbouring areas and then return when the coast is clear. The charities also have concerns that any birds which see other pigeons swooped on by the falcons will die of stress.
Supporters of the pigeons have called on the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to increase the number of "contraceptive" pigeon lofts instead. In these, the birds’ eggs are removed and then replaced with fakes.
On his own website, mayor Remy Féraud has said that the pigeons posed a "real health risk for local residents", as they potentially carry diseases dangerous to man such as bird flu. The cost of repairing social housing which has been damaged by their corrosive droppings now amounts to €150,000 per year, according to Le Parisian.
Saving the Rats
Parisians are certainly in petition mode at the moment because many residents are also campaigning to save rats! Several parks in the city have been forced to close as there are currently abnormally high numbers of rats around Paris. There have been fears that children could be bitten and infected with diseases. But the attempts to control the rat infestation have been branded as rodent genocide! 25,000 people have signed a petition in support of the rats.
So, wild rats are dangerous and unpleasant infiltrators to some and furry friends to others! The authorities simply cannot win.