A special “Eagle Patrol” is being trained to patrol the Royal Palace in Madrid. Their task will be to guard the airspace and capture drones that comes too close to the palace.
Eagles and falcons have long been used to control Spain’s fauna and ecosystems, but now they will be put into service to combat completely other threats – namely drones. In July 2015, the royal palace was exposed to several aggressive drones. The airspace over the palace is classified as protected and no aircraft activity is allowed there, but the guards could not do anything about it then. It remains a mystery where the drones came from and why they were there.
The “Eagle Patrol” is being coached by Jesús Gómez, 53, who tells the newspaper El Mundo that “Eagles bred in captivity is vital to maintain balance in our natural environment, but the world is evolving at such a rate that they must adapt to new threats”. And with new threats, Gómez means drones.
After learning that the police in the Netherlands are using drones at the initiative of the company Guard From Above Gómez bought a drone and began training his birds. “With the help of a couple of accredited pilots, I started training them.” he said.
And the result was better than he had hoped for. “Within two months the birds knew how to capture the drones and bring them down to the ground.”
Training the eagles is not an easy process. Gómez tempts them with a reward, which initially is being placed inside the drone and when the bird hand over the drone it will get its reward. “After about 15 to 20 attempts the birds perceive it as a game.” But what is a game for the Eagles may soon be part of the protection of the royal family.