Why the Dutch police are training eagles to attack drones

As criminal drone usage continues to steal headlines, the Dutch police are getting inventive when it comes to taking down suspicious quadcopters.

As well as providing impressive aerial shots of landscapes, letting helicopter fans control their own mini vehicles, annoying family members, and even spawning a brand-new competitive sport, there have been a number of regulation concerns surrounding drones.

The rapid growth of the consumer drone market over recent years has resulted in industry experts warning of ‘drone attacks’ and police reporting various crimes involving the flying gadgets.

By October last year, Thames Valley police has reported 80 drone-related incidents throughout 2015, while the Metropolitan police noted 21 cases. Incidents logged ranged from ferrying drugs into prisons, to hovering outside bedroom windows with the intent to take pictures of women.

Electronic jammers and nets have been tested in taking down suspicious drones, but with the risk of having a quadcopter fly out of control and possibly cause damage, the Dutch police have decided to see if there’s a more natural solution.

They have partnered with raptor training company Guard From Above, to see if eagles can be used to safely intercept drones.

The birds of prey are trained to identify and capture the gadgets and find a safe area away from people to land.

Guard From Above have taken to Reddit to comment on concerns that this activity could be harmful to the birds.

“In nature, birds of prey often overpower large and dangerous prey. Their talons have scales, which protect them, naturally, from their victims’ bites. Of course, we are continuously investigating any extra possible protective measures we can take in order to protect our birds,” said the firm.

“The Dutch National Police has asked the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) to research the possible impact on the birds’ claws. The results are not yet known. We are working closely with the Dutch National Police on the development of our services.”

According to the Dutch Police, the tests should last a few months – at which point they’ll decide whether to go ahead with using eagles in real world situations.

A video of the eagle testing has been posted to YouTube, showing a bird easily taking down what looks like a DJI Phantom. Check out the video below.

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