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Finally, Dutch police shuts down the drone-catching eagles program

Perhaps you remember that police in the Netherlands was training eagles to take down drones out of the sky. Fortunately, they have finally decided to shut the program down.

This controversial program caused a lot of concern among animal activists, who were wondering how harmful it was to the animals. After nearly two years, the birds are being retired and reportedly sent to new homes.

As Engadget reports, the Dutch police decided to shut the program down because the actual need for the eagles wasn’t as high as expected. They were supposed to fight terrorists and prevent potential accidents. Fortunately for the people of Netherlands (and the eagles): it turned out there weren’t many problems of this kind.

Another reason for terminating the program is the behavior of the birds. Although trained, the eagles wouldn’t always do what they were told. Because of this, the police predicted that their misbehavior in the tests would be even more serious in the chaotic real-world conditions.

Lastly, raising and training eagles isn’t the cheapest solution there is. On the other hand, anti-drone technology is advancing fast. It can do the job equally well (or better) with less investment, which is another reason to stop using the eagles.

The Netherlands was the first country to explore the option of using eagles for taking the drones down. As you can imagine, this approach caused a lot of controversy and concerned animal activists. The tests used smaller drones and light rotor blades. The concern was what would happen if the eagles’ legs got into contact with the carbon fiber blades and/or larger drones.

According to The Verge, the Dutch police will move the eagles to a shelter, and they’re exploring new solutions to taking down rogue drones. Hopefully, they’ll stick to the solutions that don’t involve animals.

[via Engadget, The Verge]

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