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Australian eagles attack and take down drones at a remote mining site – World News Report – EIN

Thursday, 17 November 2016

There has been talk about training eagles to take down drones on purpose, but in at least one place, eagles are taking down drones all of their own volition.

Near Kambalda, a remote gold mining town in Western Australia, gold miner Gold Fields Ltd. has now lost nine drones to attacks by Australian wedge-tailed eagles. The drones themselves are said to be worth AU$10,000 ($7,461), with the cameras costing the same again, making each eagle attack a rather expensive proposition.

Wedge-tailed eagles are the largest bird of prey in Australia and one of the largest in the world. They have razor-sharp talons that allow them to grab and destroy the drones in flight, a feature that mine surveyor Rick Steven told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation makes them “the natural enemy of the UAV.”

In one case, two eagles were attempting to attack a drone before one was successful. Given that the eagle is a carnivore that attacks other birds for food, it’s presumed that they view the drones as a flying meal.

The team operating the drones on the mine site have attempted to engineer a solution to ward off eagle attacks by camouflaging the drones. So far attempts have included a rainbow-colored pattern as well as making the drone itself look like another eagle.

That last one looked like an eagle but “couldn’t fight back like an eagle,” Steven said. “That [wedge-tailed eagle] is my single biggest problem. I am on my 12th drone. Nine out of the other 10 have been destroyed courtesy of this guy. He’s its natural enemy.”

Here’s a video from last year of one of the eagles taking out a drone:


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