In Germany, the long arm of the law is taking to the wing. In an effort to sniff out hidden corpses more effectively, police there are training three vultures to act as detectives, hopefully to scan large, sometimes densely overgrown areas for the presence of dead bodies.
Appropriately named Sherlock, Miss Marple, and Columbo (what, no Jessica Fletcher?), the three vultures are being trained in a bird park in northern Germany, where investigators hope their sharp eyesight and super-sensitive senses of smell--highly tuned to the olfactory signatures of decaying flesh, of course--will prove them better than dogs for searching large swaths of territory for bodies. They also hope the newly deputized vulture detectives won't peck at the corpses after they're found.
Police are using three birds because vultures like to roam in groups--though reportedly Sherlock has a frustrating tendency to hunt on foot rather than on the wing. It's an experiment for sure, but if it works vultures could join police ranks everywhere. Inquiries have already come in from Switzerland, Austria, and elsewhere in Germany.
...why does the vulture have a poorly photoshopped hat on?
picture aside, though, that's a pretty good idea.
The intent is good...
But how will the vultures discern HUMAN bodies from other dead bodies such as road kill or dead wildlife???
I love the part about "They also hope the newly deputized vulture detectives won't peck at the corpses after they're found."
@rpenri -> I'd guess they can tell by scent somehow...
I can see how this story would create a buzz. I'm just wondering if it will really help the police, or just leave them scavenging for new details. One thing for sure, that photo is dead on with the cap, nicely done.
German law enforcement is using some avian help in the war against crime, states BBC News. The police force is now using trained birds to discover rotting bodies. The scavenger birds have the sense of smell and vision to do the job, but additionally the advantage of flight.
Is it just me or is that a good looking vulture never new some actually did not look like they where dead also.