Dutch police drops drone-hunting eagles project

An eagle chasing a drone (Photo: Politie)An eagle chasing a drone (Photo: Politie)

After more than a year, the Dutch police decided to stop using birds of prey to intercept drones. It turned out that there isn't much demand for drone-intercepting eagles, and training the birds is more expensive and complicated than expected, NOS reports.

The police first started training special bird handlers, and then last year bought sea eagle chicks and trained them to intercept unwanted drones. But in practice, this did not work perfectly - the birds would not always do what they were trained for and the police therefore doubt that they will perform well outside the controlled training environment. 

The Netherlands was the first country in the world that tried preventing accidents and attacks with drones by using birds of prey. When the police announced their plans to use eagles to catch drones, falconers were baffled, calling it nonsensical and dangerous. 

The police are now looking for other ways to intercept unwanted drones.

In addition to dropping the drone-hunting eagles project, the police also decided to no longer use rats for tracing purposes. The police wanted to use rats to sniff out illegal fireworks, cigarettes or even remnants of human bones. But according to the police, getting these animals "operational" is not feasible. 

The rats were transferred to a suitable location and the eagles will soon move to a good home, the police said.