REAR

GUARD AC­TION!

First News - - CRAZY BUT TRUE -

SCI­EN­TISTS have dis­cov­ered a sur­pris­ing new way to keep cows safe from big cat car­ni­vores – by draw­ing eyes on their back­sides!

In Botswana, fu­ri­ous farm­ers had been killing lions and other en­dan­gered preda­tors, as re­venge for them scoff­ing their cat­tle herds. To find a so­lu­tion, re­searchers from the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales no­ticed that cer­tain species of but­ter­flies and birds had ‘eye­spots’. These are rear mark­ings that look like eyes and make would-be at­tack­ers think twice be­fore sneak­ing up and pounc­ing. Cows don’t have them, so it was de­cided to try paint­ing some on!

Some an­i­mals were given a pair of eyes on their bum, while oth­ers just had sim­ple crosses, and a fi­nal group was left with­out any ex­tra mark­ings. The re­sults of the four-year study showed that while the crosses had some ef­fect, it was the bum eyes that worked best. In fact, none of the cows that had them were eaten. The un­marked cows weren’t nearly as lucky – 15 of them ended up as a lion’s din­ner.

So farm­ers now have a sim­ple and cheap way to pro­tect their herds, and the lions will be safer from re­venge at­tacks too. And all thanks to a big pair of goo­gly eyes!

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