- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2017

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury has granted Chennault International Airport access to land close to the runway in order to deal with nuisance wildlife.

Randy Robb, Chennault’s executive director, said they’ve had to shoot five coyotes in just the past 2½ months. They had been living across from the runway and posed a serious threat to planes taking off and landing

KPLC-TV (https://bit.ly/2kzlYwV ) reports Robb is terrified that what happened this week at Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina will happen at Chennault. A plane carrying 44 passengers hit a deer while taking off, causing a leak in the fuel tank.

Robb said that keeps him awake at night and is why he and the Airport Authority asked for access to 25 acres across from the runway to thin out wildlife.

“So what we’re going to try to do is remove the trees from this area - not all the trees - we’ll leave the trees like you would have on a normal golf course. We’re just going to take the habitats away - the thick brush that keeps the animals in there.”

Robb said they have issues with coyotes, birds, deer, and even alligators. Although, there haven’t been any serious accidents, just one incident involving a bird.

“It’s a T38, so it’s a fast jet, but it went down the intake and damaged the engine and so birds damage engines cockpits. I have a friend who lost an eye from a bird that went through his cockpit.”

Birds are one of Robb’s biggest concerns. The airport uses whistlers and bird cannons to scare them away, but they continue to come back. That’s why Robb wants to reduce their habitat.

“If we don’t have to deal with them, we don’t have to kill them,” he said.

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Information from: KPLC-TV, https://kplctv.com


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