FROM long-distance carrier pigeons to mine-detecting dolphins, the powers of animals have often been relied on during times of conflict. Now, the Spanish Royal Family is set to employ specially-trained eagles to take down drones around Madrid’s Zarzuela Palace, following an invasion of the flying robots in July 2015.
The technique was first trialed by the Dutch National Police Corps earlier this year, who worked alongside a private company which specialises in training the predatory birds to “hunt and disable robotic prey.”
US bird organisation the National Audubon Society have said that eagles attack the unmanned aircraft because they view them as other birds of prey encroaching on their territory.
Spanish bird trainer Jesus Gomez has been commissioned by King Felipe and his family to apply the method in Madrid, using a squad of golden eagles to pluck the drones out of the sky. He said: “Eagles are fundamental in retaining the balance of the environment, but the world moves very fast and we must adapt to new threats.”
Gomez is currently investigating whether the raptors could wear protective clothing amid concerns that the blades on the drones could cause injury.