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Exmoor Zoo staff to use police riot shields for protection

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 31, 2012

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Exmoor Zoo staff are using riot shields to protect themselves from attack by vicious cranes in the breeding season

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Staff at a zoo are to defend themselves from aggressive birds by using police riot shields.

Devon and Cornwall Police have donated two decommissioned shields to Exmoor Zoo near Barnstaple, so staff can fend off aggressive cranes during their breeding season.

Last season, from spring until early summer, staff were kicked and pecked by the birds, the zoo said.

Curator Danny Reynolds said police were also training staff to use the shields.

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He added that "anti-social behaviour" from the birds, which are often at least 1m (3ft 4ins) tall, "had been on the increase year-on-year".

The shields were donated after discussions with local wildlife crime officer PC Martin Beck. Officers had also been trained on how to use them effectively.

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