Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

Flooded with complaints, Tokyo has launched a citywide crow crackdown. The plan is aimed at wiping out 7,000 of the big black birds by March. As per the plan, 100 fenced-in-traps have been set up where the birds would be lured and then gassed out by carbon dioxide. More than us $236,000 is being spent for the traps alone.

The crows of Tokyo are seen as mischievous and aggressive. Having blade-sharp beaks, they pick up prairie dogs at the city zoo and also rip open garbage bags and litter the streets with rotten food. They are also said to attack baby kittens.

The Tokyo government received 2,891 crow control complaints between May and August, 2001. Around 464 nest were removed, 105 eggs destroyed, and 1,064 chicks killed .

However, bird lovers do not second the extermination plan. "People misunderstand crows," says Meiko Kurosawa, of the Wild Bird Society of Japan. "They are part of the wildlife in Tokyo, and we have to coexist and live in harmony with crows."

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