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Prevent the training of eagles to catch drones

This petition had 2,656 supporters

Jemima Parry-Jones Mbe - Director, International Centre For Birds of Prey says:

About a week ago I was sent a video on the Dutch Police training a juvenile Bald Eagle to grab a drone in what looked like an indoor arena. I was then asked by someone else what eagles would be suitable to do this. I was one of a group of experts asked about this. Every single one stated that this was a stupid idea, no birds of prey should be used and that it would lead inevitably to injury to the birds. I have since spoken to people who work with drones and they also said it was a very bad idea.

We know that drones have injured humans including removing fingers, they are a potential danger if used badly. We know that when used unwisely in the Middle East they have removed toes and even heads of Saker Falcons.

The people flying the drones that the police want to use a raptor against will quickly make their drones potentially more dangerous with steel or carbon fibre blades.  I have since been contacted by the Metropolitan Police in the UK who asked if this was a good and potential idea and my strong advice was NO, it is a very bad idea. It will injure birds that are used. Putting protectors on their feet will not suffice, we know they do not work particularly well with Harris Hawks and Squirrels.

This is a gimmick that should not be allowed to get off the ground and sadly in the UK, I suspect there will be people who will jump on this as a way to make money and publicity.

Bear in mind too that if an Eagle does catch a drone – then what happens? I will assume here that they are not going to be catching drones over the countryside where they can land safely, it is more likely to be over towns and cities and roads. How are people going to manage if a large eagle lands in the middle of the road in front of them with a drone – it is a recipe for disaster. This has not been thought out and the people doing it have not considered the risks to the birds or what happens afterwards– shame.

If the police in the UK are asking the right experts they should listen to our advice.

If you don’t believe us, you could of course try putting your own fingers into the propeller of a reasonably sized drone and see what happens! That should answer the questions.

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