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Berlin - Germans are known for their love of animals and these sentiments have now been extended to ants, said one of the country's 85 officially recognised Ant Protection Officers in an interview on Tuesday.
"People with an ant hill in their garden must under no circumstances resort to the use of poison," said Ant Officer Dieter Kraemer in an interview.
This was a violation of federal nature protection laws and punishable with hefty fines, Kraemer warned.
Instead, those who want to get rid of pesky ants should call the state forestry office and apply to have ant hills dug up and moved to a local forest, he said.
This is not as outlandish as it may sound.
Ants are highly valued by German foresters for eating insects that attack trees. A high ant population can prevent costly woodland spraying aimed at pests such as the Nun moth, which attacks pines and other conifers.
Although Germany is densely populated, about 30 percent of the country is still covered by forests which are intensively managed to provide timber. - Sapa-DPA