The newest additions to the Dutch National Police (DNP) are North American “immigrants”: bald eagles that are specially trained to take down airborne drones.
The initiative is a first for law enforcement, according to DNP officials. They announced in a statement, released Sept. 13, that the DNP is currently the only police force in the world to include raptors on its roster for drone defense.
“It’s a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” police spokesman Dennis Janus told AFP.
As in other countries, increasing numbers of drones are invading Dutch skies raising concerns in places like airports and restricted, sensitive areas.
Dutch police launched tests in early 2015 to see how the battle between eagles and drones would shape up, and are now confidently preparing to recruit the majestic birds into their ranks.
“We found out that it is probably one of the most effective counter-measures against hostile drones,” police head of operations Michel Baeten told AFP.
Pieces of chicken or turkey attached to some of the test drones have been used to reward the birds for their “kill”, attuning the birds to idea that the drones are in fact prey.
During the long tests, “none of the eagles were hurt, but as for the drones, none of them survived,” said Janus with a smile, brushing aside concerns from animal rights groups.