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Eagles are being trained to take out illegal drones

A bird of prey might prove to be the most effective way to intercept dangerous UAVs.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
February 1, 2016
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Forget anti-drone drones, one of nature's most majestic hunters may soon play a valuable role in taking down dangerous UAVs. As part of a new trial, the Dutch National Police force has begun training eagles to intercept troublesome drones during an emergency, when another capture device might put people below at risk.

In collaboration with raptor training company Guard From Above, Dutch police taught an eagle to recognize a DJI drone. Once in sight, the bird flies toward its mechanical prey, snatches it with its enormous talons and then takes it to safe place. The eagle is one of the two "physical" methods the force are trialling -- the other being a safety net -- but a trained bird of prey gives officers more control over where the offending drone is brought down to earth.

What makes eagles effective drone hunters? Their feet have four powerful toes that are strong enough to grip and carry heavy objects, whether it's a wild animal or a heavy UAV. But even though they have toughened talons, drone rotors could still damage the bird. A spokesperson says the force will look at ways to better protect their flying counterparts while they conduct trials over the next few months.

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