In January of last year, the Dutch National Police announced they were training eagles to take down misbehaving drones. More than a year later, police have determined that perhaps sicking massive birds of prey at rogue contraptions in the sky isn’t an ideal solution. NOS reports that Dutch police are retiring the project due to low demand, high costs, and unexpected drawbacks. According to Dutch news site NLTimes, “the birds would not always do what they were trained for.”
When Dutch police announced the trial period, they also released a video showing eagles grabbing DJI phantoms from the air with their talons. “That will make mincemeat out of an eagle,” Robert Muster, a falconer in Enschede, told a Dutch newspaper last year. Muster added, “If an eagle can not catch his prey, he may become so frustrated that he picks up something else. Eagle talons are so strong that it can easily pierce a child’s head.”
As tech companies, hobbyists, and amateurs continue to capitalise on airspace, it’s important to come up with a safe solution for wrangling rogue drones. But an unreliable and potentially deadly bird is not the solution. I’m not here for a future where I have to look up into the sky and see a glitched-out Amazon delivery drone careening toward a power line, hoping that a massive bird of prey is up to the task that day. But at least we got a fun video out of it.