Radio 4 'bores' predatory foxes into submission

Conservationists in Dorset are using BBC Radio 4 to stop foxes from attacking swans.

Wardens are keeping hungry foxes away from the birds by scaring them off with the popular national radio station.

Swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset are protected by fences stretching nearly 60 metres out across the lagoon. However, crafty foxes learned to swim around the defences. "They caused a huge amount of damage on a regular basis," said Dave Wheeler, a swanherd.

"It was a farmer that put us on to Radio 4. In his words, Radio 4 is so boring that foxes won't go near it."

At the outer reaches of the swannery, close to the water's edge, Mr Wheeler has put radios blasting out the likes of The Archers, You and Yours and the Today programme.

He said: "Foxes follow the boundary fence looking for a way to get in to the swannery and it's when they get to the water that we need to deter them.

"They hear voices and they think people must be around and so they go away. We thought it was a big joke at first but the farmer eventually convinced us that Radio 4 worked for him and so we thought: 'If it's worked for him, it should work for us'."

Mr Wheeler maintained that the sound did not disturb the swans. "Our swans are not bothered by people, and so they're not worried by voices."