Image credit: Andy Roberts, used under Creative Commons license.
Its longest running radio soap may have featured carbon offsets and transition towns in its story lines. But the ecological benefits of BBC Radio 4—one of the UK's most popular talk, news and documentary stations—aren't just educational. It turns out that some farmers and conservationists are using it to "bore" predatory foxes, thus protecting swans and other species from becoming their dinner.
So, how does it work?
The Independent reports that conservationists are using Radio 4 to keep foxes away from swans. While the most likely explanation is that foxes don't like the sound of human voices, the farmer who first turned them onto this trick claims it is all about the quality of programming:
Swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset are protected by fences stretching nearly 60 metres out across the lagoon. However, crafty foxes learned to swim around the defences. "They caused a huge amount of damage on a regular basis," said Dave Wheeler, a swanherd."It was a farmer that put us on to Radio 4. In his words, Radio 4 is so boring that foxes won't go near it."
This isn't the first time I've heard of such tricks. In fact, when searching for ways to stop my own backyard hens from getting eaten, I found discussions online that suggest that many Australian farmers and chicken keepers play AC/DC really loud around the coop to keep predators away. (No word on what that does for egg production.)
And on an entirely separate note, who knew there was such a job title as "swanherd"!?
More on Foxes, Conservation, and Deterring Predators
Extinct Fox Turns Up Again in California
Alpacas Fend Off Foxes at Highgrove
Snipers Take Out Foxes to Protect Endangered Penguins