Eagles destroy commercial drones with ease, Dutch police have found

Drone-killing eagles in Holland inspire Metropolitan police

The UK Metropolitan Police are considering employing eagles in the fight against the use of drones for illegal purposes.

The British law-enforcers have been inspired by their Dutch counterparts who already began exploring the possibilities of using the animals to fight technology.

Dutch police revealed last week they had been training the birds of prey to remove small unmanned aircraft from the sky that could pose a risk to the public.

In a video released last week, a drone can been seen taken down effortlessly by a white-tailed eagle, which has been specially trained to recognise the drone as prey. During the training the birds are being awarded a piece of meat after every successful strike.

"These birds are used to meeting resistance from animals they hunt in the wild and they don't seem to have much trouble with the drones," said Sjoerd Hoogendoorn of Guard from Above, the company working with Dutch police on the project.

Although there have been fears about the birds being hurt by the drones' blades, the researchers encountered the exact opposite problem – the eagles destroy a large proportion of the drones during the training. "It's a major cost of testing," Hoogendoorn admitted.

Dutch police were prompted to start exploring how to tackle drones by the increasing number of incidents involving amateurs operating the technology irresponsibly in the vicinity of airports or above public events.

However, the remotely controlled pilotless aircraft could also be used, for example, by drug smugglers to dispatch their illegal packages and concerns have been raised that terrorists might be able to exploit the technology to carry explosives.

Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told The Times he has been impressed by the work done by the Dutch.

Other solutions for the drone problem considered by the Dutch involve remote hacking or shooting nets at the drones. So far, eagles have proved the most capable in taking down consumer-grade drones without injury from the blades.

Another unknown is how the birds will fare in a crowd situation, said Hoogendoorn.

Dutch police will decide whether to move ahead with the project by the end of the year.

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