Criminal Fauna

The Economist’s latest briefing about Tokyo has the following story:

Crow-barred

The capital’s increasingly aggressive jungle crows have become inadvertent cyber-criminals, denying thousands of Tokyoites broadband access. It turns out that fibre-optic broadband wires are perfect material for their nests, and can be dislodged from junction boxes with a well-judged peck. NTT and Tepco, the principal providers of fibre-optic cable in Tokyo, have reported sharp surges in vandalism committed by crows, who have no such success with the copper telephone and electricity cables that criss-cross the skyline.

The crows’ rising boldness must be a disappointment to Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo’s governor, who declared war on the birds some five years ago, but has watched their numbers more than quadruple since. Even if the crows are somehow dissuaded from their destruction, the attacks on broadband access are expected to continue. Cicadas have discovered that fibre-optic cable is the ideal place to lay eggs, and have been staking out breeding grounds on the telegraph poles.

In Tokyo, one of the most-populated cities in the world, the worst vandals are still crows and cicadas, not humans…

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