The Planet

Dutch Police Enlist Drone-Hunting Eagles to Patrol the Skies

by Bo Suh

February 1, 2016

There’s a righteous majesty in watching an eagle take down a drone mid-air. Paired with the knowledge that these drones could be hostile or rogue, that poetic vision seems even sweeter.

In an effort to more strictly monitor airspace, the Dutch national police force has teamed up with Guard From Above, the first-ever company training birds of prey to intercept drones. By employing the birds’ natural hunting instincts, the Dutch police aim to remove potentially dangerous drones from the sky.

In addition to being awe-inspiring to watch, the solution is quite simple: The bird is unleashed, seizes the drone, then takes it to a secluded area as if it were prey. In Guard From Above’s press release, founder and CEO Sjoerd Hoogendoorn called their service “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem.”

But there are some concerns about the birds’ safety. If not grabbed carefully, the drones’ fast-moving rotors can potentially injure the birds’ feet, which has raised the possibility of creating custom armor for the eagles’ talons.

The partnership is one component of the Dutch police’s larger efforts to prevent unsanctioned drone use. Since drone operators are sometimes difficult to locate, working with Guard From Above was a viable (and perhaps more efficient) method of disposing of drones.

Watch the eagle in action below (in Dutch):

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Dutch Police Enlist Drone-Hunting Eagles to Patrol the Skies