Eagle-mounted camera
On the lookout for drones.Terra Mater

Dutch police have uncovered interesting new partners for a possible upcoming battle against dangerous drones: eagles. The birds are being trained in an innovative pilot program to grab the mini-flying machines much as they might tackle a mouse.

Netherlands law enforcement personnel have teamed up with a raptor training operation called Guard from Above for the program, reports the Verge. The eagles are being taught to "intercept" small quadcopters.

Using the animals would be safer — for people, at least — than shooting down the craft because bullets might injure people nearby. Jamming flight controls could simply result in a bomb-laden craft dropping to the ground and exploding. Eagles presumably could be trained not only to grab a drone but deposit it in a safe place.

It's not yet clear if the birds would need extra protection during their aerial interceptions. In a video of a training session one of the handlers says, in Dutch, that tough scales on the eagles' feet and legs should protect them, but they might require some added armour for extra protection from cuts.

Correction: The original version of this story referred to Danish, rather than Dutch, police. The error has now been corrected.