It's a bird! It's a plane! No wait, it's just a bird. A bird of prey to be exact. Society has had a fascination with birds of prey since the beginning of time. Most major empires have used hawk, eagles, and even vultures as national symbols. Who wouldn't? Birds of prey are so darn cool. These creatures are highly intelligent, fierce, can have night vision, and are some of the most efficient hunters in the animal kingdom. Clans and countries have trained these birds to be hunting companions. This tradition has even continued to this day.
The Dutch police decided to use this century-old tradition to combat the pesky issue of drones flying in their airspace. However, things have not been going according to plan.
Low Tech Solution for a High Tech Problem
Last year, The Dutch National Police decided they needed to add eagles to their payroll to train and hunt a new type of "annoying" prey, drones. As more people take up drones as a potential hobby across the world, countries have tightened regulations on the use of drones. There are real threats to national security. People can potentially lose control of drones, using drones for malicious acts, or simply causing aerial interference.
This centuries-old hobby aim was to tackle the growing issue of these unnamed vehicles flying taking to the air. The solution was praised across the world and the Dutch, per usual, were revered for their out of the box thinking. “It’s a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” said the Dutch police spokesman, Dennis Janus at last year's "drone hunting" demonstration. In a very epic statement, Janus said, "None of the Eagles were hurt, but as for the drones, none of them survived." By the end of this past summer, the Dutch police team had 100 hunting eagles ready for action.
The Unexpected Issues With Eagles
Fast forward a year later, and it seems things are not going so well for the eagle drone initiative. The program is being retired because of the unexpectedly high costs, small demand, and even more surprising drawbacks. Some of the most obvious issues include how dangerous, powerful drones can be for the birds. A drone moving at 70mph could easily injure and bird. The other problems that came up include the danger to the public as well how expensive it could be to deal with those issues. Some argue releasing birds onto the public could endanger small children. No matter what the problem, the Dutch police will be looking for alternative programs to combat the current problem.
It looks like it is back to the drawing board for the Dutch police. Nevertheless, you have to give them points for such a creative solution to a growing problem.