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The U.K. may start using eagles to take down drones

Some eagles could soon be spending much of their life in jail if the U.K. government gets its way.

No, the powers-that-be aren’t looking to target the majestic creature in some kind of bizarre police crackdown on bird-instigated crime. Instead, it’s hoping to make use of their supreme hunting skills in its fight to keep drone-delivered contraband out of the nation’s prisons.

Discussing the issue during a debate in the British parliament this week, prisons minister Sam Gyimah described the threat posed by drones as “a game changer,” adding that the government was looking for an effective solution for dealing with rogue unmanned flying machines around prisons and other sensitive locations.

Gyimah said his team was “keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Holland, where they’re using eagles to stop drones.”

No, he’s not making it up. Police in the Netherlands recently completed extensive trials using highly trained eagles to snatch remotely controlled multi-rotor copters out of the sky and return them to their handler. All without ruffling a feather.

Dutch police describe their “kit” as a “low-tech solution to a high-tech problem.” But, as the video above shows, it clearly works, which could be bad news for British inmates waiting for their next drone delivery of smartphones, drugs, or whatever else their consignments usually hold.

Related: The police may one day equip drones with Tasers

Instances of people using drones to fly contraband into British prisons is a growing problem in the U.K., just as it is in other countries. In fact, it’s become so serious that London’s Metropolitan Police has set up a special unit called “Operation Airborne” to deal with the issue.

If the British government’s eagle plan fails to take flight, Gyimah can also consider a myriad of other options, most of them rather more high-tech than a bird. The alternatives include this ingenious projectile-firing bazooka, a net-carrying interceptor drone as used by cops in Japan, and an anti-drone death ray machine.