- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2017

France is experimenting with a unique tool to protect its interests against terrorism threats — golden eagles.

An military base in Mont-de-Marsan is training one of nature’s best hunters to take out drones at airports, sporting events, or diplomatic gatherings. Officials have seen enough success with four golden eagles to begin designing specially made Kevlar mittens to protect their talons.

“The cost is very low considering the job at hand,” an officer told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

Falconer Gerald Machoukow told the news outlet that the birds — D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis — started out early in life by receiving food on inoperable drones. Their instincts, coupled with regular training and positive reinforcement, took care of the rest.

“I love these birds. I don’t want to send them to their death,” Mr. Machoukow said about the need for Kevlar mittens.

Military officials told AFP that a midterm progress report on the 24-month project will be made in June.

Four more eagles are expected to begin training by later this summer.

Each bird can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour and spot targets over 1 mile away.

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