Cape Town - On your next run through an airport, you could just have an encounter with a working animal - yes, an animal carrying out a very efficient duty to passengers and management, adding their bit to the functionality of travel.
While we have grown used to seeing sniffer dogs suss out drugs and illegal activity at airports, many other helpers from the animal world are just as valuable to us mere humans, reports CNN.
Dog - the therapists
Los Angeles Airport has been offering dogs as therapists for the past two years. The group of dogs go by the name, PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers) and move around the airport's post-security. Here you can pet them and let them unnerve you before your big flight.
Last month, the pups were honoured by the Los Angeles City Council, reports CNN.
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Falcon air traffic controllers
One of the most dangerous animals at airports are birds. A bird can cause great damages to expensive planes.
Mark Adam, the owner of Falcon Environmental Services, uses falcons to steer birds away from planes at critical moments during take-off and landing. The method is widely used to control birds, explains Adam, "one of the more humane methods of preventing bird strikes.
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This method uses the predator-prey relationship between falcons and small birds seen in the wild. One of the advantages are that falcons fly vast distances like those at airports.
Goats eco-friendly landscapers
A Portland airport has 'employed' a herd of goats to control its natural vegetation.
Test programmes at Portland International Airport and Chicago O'Hare started using the natural, eco-friendly lawn mowers to add a few new friendly faces to the airport, employing rescue sheep, goats, llamas, burros and alpacas to get to work on the thick fauna surrounding it.
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Llamas - the pro bodyguards
Sadly, the goats at Portland International Airport, typical farm animals that they are, are finding their workplace hazardous to their well-being. Being at 'work' at the airport exposes them to coyotes and they have required some protection.
So, a group of llama bodyguards have been employed to defend for the goats. Llamas are reportedly a natural coyote-deterrent.
Mice - undercover security agents
An Israeli company is currently developing an explosive detection system run by mice. According to the vice president of the Tamar group, the tiny animals have the best sense of smell, are easy to train and are perfect little travellers - as they don't take up much space.
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The project aims to use mice to sniff passengers and their luggage for bombs and illegal substances.
Bees - The anti-drug detectors
A study conducted at the University of Giessen, Germany found that honeybees could be trained to find drugs.
The bees could learn to fly away from the smell of narcotics. According to the study, bees are easier and cheaper to train than dogs.
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