K-9 yes, but vultures?

Posted June 20th, 2011 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

Working police dogs, or K-9 units, can be found in just about any city of decent size these days. But this story caught my eye for its oddity, and certainly for its imagination.

It seems a threesome of vultures (quaintly named Sherlock, Miss Marple, and Columbo) are currently being trained in northern Germany to help local police in finding corpses. (Nothing I read told me which species of vulture they are dealing with).

I’ve heard of the birds being effective in finding leaks along natural gas pipelines and we’re all aware of their keen ability to pick up the faintest of whiffs from rotting flesh. But this is the first I’ve heard of someone actually harnessing that ability and putting it to use.

“The vultures may work much more effectively than sniffer dogs,” said a Hanover police officer, Rainer Herrmann. (from the article at the BBC).

What are they using to train the birds? A mortuary shroud. How nice.

Might we see a day when we look into a cruiser and see a police officer with, not a German shepard dog, but a vulture in a large cage?

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