- The Washington Times - Monday, February 1, 2016

Imagine a drone illegally encroaching on White House airspace.

As the unmanned aircraft hovers over the White House fence, a bald eagle swoops out of the sky, snatches the drone from the air and brings it back to awaiting Secret Service agents.

As extreme as such an American pride scenario seems, Dutch police are testing the technique.

Dutch company Guard from Above, which specializes in training birds of prey, has partnered with the Dutch National Police to explore the use of raptors as a way to disable potentially hostile or lost drones.

Thus far, it appears to have had some success.

In a video the company released over the weekend, an eagle is set loose on a quadcopter hovering inside a training center. The bird swoops down on the drone in midair, snatches it with its talons and carries it to a corner of the facility.

In a statement, Guard from Above touts itself as the first company in the world to train birds of prey to intercept drones.

“Sometimes a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem is more obvious than it seems,” company founder Sjoerd Hoogendoorn said in the statement. “This is the case with our specialty trained birds of prey. By using these birds’ animal instincts, we can offer an effective solution to a new threat.”

Dutch National Police, in their own statement Sunday, confirmed the testing partnership, and officials said the agency would decide within several months whether it would be feasible to move forward with using birds to combat problematic drones.

While Guard from Above uses bald eagle imagery in its logo and founders had a bald eagle on display in the training video, it was unclear whether they would put that particular bird to work. The raptor featured in the video was brown.

In a fact sheet about the company, Guard from Above notes that it trains a variety of birds of prey.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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