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Holland's drone-hunting eagles are ready to fly

Holland's drone-hunting eagles are ready to fly


'Flying squad' trained to take down drones over airports and sensitive areas

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Police in the Netherlands are ready to deploy a team of eagles to take down rogue drones, in a bid to protect airspace over airports and other sensitive areas. As the AFP reports, Dutch police have been training the eagles since 2015, and announced on Tuesday that the tests were successful. They conducted their first public demonstration with the birds, and will deploy them whenever a drone is believed to pose a threat to the public.

With today's announcement, the Netherlands becomes the first country to use birds to take down drones, which have become a growing security concern around the world. Dutch forces bought four sea eagle chicks after completing their trials this year, and around 100 officers will be trained to use them. The birds are five months old now, and until they mature, the force will use eagles supplied by Guard From Above, a company that trains birds of prey to take down hostile drones. Authorities expect their own "flying squad" to be active by next summer.

"None of the eagles were hurt, but as for the drones, none of them survived."

Animal rights advocates have raised concerns about the program, arguing that eagles could be harmed or injured by drones. But Dutch police say the birds were unharmed during the trials.

"None of the eagles were hurt, but as for the drones, none of them survived," police spokesman Dennis Janus tells the AFP. "The eagles see the drones as prey and intercept them as they are flying, before landing where they feel safe with the drone still in their claws."