Birds of a feather flock together to boost police ranks in Xinjiang
Updated: 2013-08-03 02:47
By CUI JIA in Urumqi (China Daily)
Some police stations in rural areas of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have new recruits that they know will be high fliers.
Although geese are not normally associated with police work, their alertness and ability to create a ruckus makes them perfect for sentry duty.
Geese parade at the command of officers at Dongwan police station in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The geese have helped prevent thefts. ZHAO YUFEI / FOR CHINA DAILY
"Keeping geese is common at police stations in rural areas," said Hong Gang, director of Dongwan police station. "We used to keep them for their eggs and meat, but in June we were told to buy more of them and let them guard the station."
Shawan county's public security bureau encouraged 12 rural stations to set up "goose squads" to watch over property.
"Geese are highly vigilant, especially at night," Hong said. "They won't stop honking until the threat has gone and if one sounds the alarm the rest will follow."
The station already had seven geese, but Hong recently bought 13 more. "Now they have been promoted, we can't bear to eat them anymore," he said.
The goose squad is kept in a pen during the day to prevent visitors to the station from being bitten. "Many people growing up in villages have been bitten by geese," Hong said.
At night, the geese are allowed to wander around the compound.
Duan Wencheng, leader of the county's Anjihai traffic police, said the geese have already helped prevent a theft.
In early June, an officer found a farmer riding an unlicensed motorbike. The farmer dismounted and fled before the officer seized the bike and took it to the police station.
That night, the farmer went to the station to steal the bike, killing a guard dog by giving it poisoned meat. But when he climbed over the wall and approached the motorcycle, the geese began flapping their wings and honking.
The farmer was caught.
Duan said: "Geese have poor eyesight, especially at night, but they have very good hearing. They can detect footsteps from a great distance.
"Of course, we also have surveillance cameras and infrared alarms, but they can be affected by the rain and other factors. The geese never make mistakes."
He said his station has white geese, but has also brought in some gray ones.
"They grow bigger and their color is perfect camouflage at night," he said, adding that white geese weigh about 7 kg, while gray ones can reach 15 kg.
Duan said the geese can recognize police uniforms and so they never attack officers. "We treat them like part of the team now," he said.