Sydney's K-9 Seagull Patrol: Seagull Patrol protect diners' food in Sydney
An innovative program in Sydney is keeping the seagulls at bay, and away from the food of customers enjoying the view of the Opera House. The solution - has gone to the dogs. Greg Navarro explains.
The problem facing diners under the shadow of Sydney's iconic Opera House has been the persistent and pesky seagulls.
TREVELYAN BALE GENERAL MANAGER, OPERA KITCHEN "I've seen people sitting with a burger in their hands and the seagull swooped and literally takes the burger out of his hand and flies off."
The seagulls were costing the restaurant money, and scaring customers away.
GREG NAVARRO SYDNEY "Over the years, they've attempted a host of preventative measures aimed at keeping the seagulls away - but nothing has managed to work."
JADE McKELLAR DIRECTOR OF VISITOR EXPERIENCE "We tried sonic deterrents, we had wire covers over the food, we even commissioned a robot hawk that promised to keep the seagulls away back in 2014 and within 3 hours of having it installed there was a seagull sitting on its head."
About 2 months ago, a handful of dedicated dogs including 5-year old Muffin took up the job of paw enforcement along the water's edge.
JAMES WEBB TRAINER, MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN "We selected dogs who wanted to chase seagulls, we bring them down here and then we train them to do that on command."
Since the Seagull Patrol has been on the job around the Opera House, the dogs have managed to keep the gulls at bay.
TREVELYAN BALE GENERAL MANAGER, OPERA KITCHEN "We've seen an 80 to 90% drop in refunds for customers, customers sitting there on the wall now they've got no idea, normally they would have 10 bird sitting behind them ready to pounce on their food."
The trial program is allowing diners to focus on their food and the views, and giving the dogs a chance to do what they love to do.
JAMES WEBB TRAINER, MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN "She'll chase seagulls up and down the beach all day so on her day off she'll do exactly the same thing in her free time."
The dogs are winning the battle with the birds, and proving to be a hit with the public as well. Greg Navarro, CGTN, Sydney.