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New Additions to the French Military – Eagles

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The eagles are trained to capture small UAVs, aka “drones” that may pose a danger to aircraft or are being used for nefarious activity. They’re raised in captivity and trained as hatchlings to associate UAVs with food. The French program was adapted from one developed by the Dutch.

Royal eagles, which can hunt prey up to 25kg – the size of a deer – are often used by the programme due to their strength.

In the Netherlands, the use of eagles in police work sparked animal welfare concerns among falconers. When eagles intercept a drone, a pressure of 250kg per square centimetre is exerted on their claws.

Dutch police told the NRC daily newspaper that their eagles have so far not suffered any problems from intercepting small drones, but that larger drones may damage their claws. Eagles in the French programme wear kevlar and leather claw coverings as a protective measure.

[Story here, via here, video here, h/t Nancy H.]

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