This is one gaggle that you don’t want to mess with. At least that is the hope of police chiefs in Xinjiang province, who have decided to enlist some geese police in order to curb crime in one of China’s most dangerous regions. The province is notorious for the amount of ethnic violence perpetrated between Han Chinese and Uighurs, a mostly Muslim group which makes up over half of the territory’s 22 million people. The area’s violent history has been no match for the geese, however, as their presence has criminals taking flight.
Most people envision guard dogs as ferocious German Shepherds that can run down any criminal with ease. While that can be the case, law enforcement officials and paramilitary forces in China have recently started to view their canine companions as a liability. These groups have noticed that guard dogs are being drugged at an alarming rate. In China this usually entails throwing a poisoned bun into the dog’s enclosure and waiting a few minutes for the pup to eat the treat.
Geese, on the other hand, are less inclined to eat something randomly thrown near them, especially at night. The reason for this is simple: geese have poor night vision, but they make up for this with excellent hearing. Also helping the rise of guard geese is that, unlike lone guard dogs, the birds are usually kept in groups, making it harder for a criminal to incapacitate all of them. Yet, even by itself, a goose can be a fearsome animal. If you’ve ever wandered too close to a goose’s nest, you know just how savage an attack from one of these feathered sentries can be. If you’ve never had such an experience, then imagine a very persistent goose, wings flapping, head back, beak snapping and squawking, and chest puffed out as it chases you for two hundred feet.
A recent incident from Shawan County shows the value of guard geese. Authorities arrested a man who tried to break into the local police station at night. After drugging two police dogs and climbing over a fence, the would-be-thief was feet away from a motorbike he intended to steal when he stumbled upon an enclosure with twenty geese. The birds raised such a stink that the duty officer, asleep in the station, woke up and caught the crook before he flew the coop.