A unique approach to pest control: Mechanical monsters

Is this the latest in pest control?

A farmer in a rural town in Kyushu, one of the main islands of Japan, has resorted to his own special way to drive pests away from his fields: a robotic “monster wolf” that literally scares them away.

The machine, smaller than a real wolf, has long gray fur, pointed ears and a sinister, Halloween mask-esque face with red LED-light eyes and a terrifying expression. It lives at the edge of a rice paddy owned by farmer Norio Kido in the small town of Soeda, reports The Mainichi.

The wolf works with infrared motion detecting sensors. When it senses movement, the wolf’s eyes light up, and it shakes back and forth. One of 57 different pre-recorded audio sounds will play, including howls and a human voice saying, “Shoot it with a rifle! Shoot!”

Kido has implemented the fuzzy protector for a planned six-month-long trial period. During the trial, the farmer will observe how effectively the device seems to scare away deer, wild boars and other costly vermin. If it works, other farms in the area would like to follow suit.

Rice is Japan’s biggest crop, but barley, soybeans, wheat and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are also important there. Wild boars and deer are a huge problem in parts of the country. Boars alone caused approximately $46 million in damage to agriculture in 2015, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

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