Category Archives: ANIMALS
WHERE EAGLES DARE
French military using winged warriors to hunt down rogue drones.
A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HM1
Following incidents of drones flying over the presidential palace and restricted military sites – along with the deadly 2015 Paris terror attacks – the French air force has trained four golden eagles to intercept and destroy the rogue aircraft.
Aptly named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis – an homage to Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” – the four birds of prey have been honing their attack skills at the Mont-de-Marsan in southwestern France since mid-2016.
A French army falconer works with a golden eagle as part of a military training for combat against drones in Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HNZ
“A drone means food for these birds,” Gerald Machoukow, the military base’s falconer, told FRANCE 24. “Now they automatically go after them.”
The use of hunting birds – normally falcons and northern goshawks – by militaries around the globe is common practice in the fight to scare other critters away from runways and so cut the risk of accidents during takeoff or landing. But it wasn’t until 2015 when the Dutch started using bald eagles to intercept drones that other militaries started to see the benefit of these winged warriors.
The French bred the four golden eagles – three males and one female — using artificial insemination since eagles are a protected species and harvesting wild eggs is strictly forbidden. They chose the golden eagle because of the birds hooked beak and sharp eyesight.
Also weighing in around 11 pounds, the birds are in a similar weight class as the drones they’re sent to destroy and clocking in at a top air speed of 50 miles per hour, with the capability of spotting its target from over a mile away, the eagles are deft hunters.
To protect the eagles from drone blades and any explosive device that might be attached the them, the French military designed mittens of leather and Kevlar, an anti-blast material, to protect the bird’s talons.
A golden eagle carries a flying drone away during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HNX
“I love these birds,” Machoukow told Agence France-Presse. “I don’t want to send them to their death.”
The birds are first taught to attack in a straight line before graduating to diving from heights. Soon they’ll be patrolling the skies over the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France and could possibly be deployed at airports and special events, such as political summits and soccer tournaments.
While an initial progress report on the eagles’ capabilities is due in June, French officials say that the results are promising and the French air force already expects four more eagles to join the fleet at Mont-de-Marsan by the summer.
THE MOST POWERFUL BIRD
This fascinating documentary is by courtesy of National Geographic
THE WONDERS AND GLORY OF NATURE
A brilliant 5 minute video compiled by National Geographic which captures things which are beyond the capability of Man to create and manufacture…….
Tracking: A Game of Patience
The following article is so interesting that I “borrowed” it from the LONDOLOZI Blog which, if you are a lover of Wildlife and Nature in general, I wholeheartedly recommend as probably the best of it’s kind……… http://blog.londolozi.com
Written by Sam Shriver who is a visiting contributor to Londolozi.
SO GOD MADE A DOG…….
DIVING IN FIJI AND TONGA
Underwater footage shot whilst scuba diving in the Fiji islands and Tonga. Featuring colorful coral reefs, huge schools of tropical fish, sharks, humpback whales, underwater caves, scuba divers and much more marine life from the south Pacific.
THE LION AND THE FOX
Lions are some of the most fearsome creatures in the animal kingdom, and for good reason. These predators can easily outrun and outsmart their prey, making them the perfect killing machines.
So that’s why when this lioness approached an injured baby bat-eared fox in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, we truly feared the worst.
The lioness noticed the injured fox on a dirt road. The poor fox was absolutely terrified and froze in fear.
Then, a hungry male lion spotted them and came looking for an easy meal.
Things didn’t look good for the little guy.
But when the lion went in for the kill…
… the lioness decided she wasn’t about to let anything happen to her tiny new friend…
… and told him to back off!
The male lion wasn’t too pleased, but he left the fox alone.
The lioness went back to caring for the babies.
Once he was able to get back on his feet, the fox scampered off to safety.
This mighty predator saved the tiny fox’s life when she could have easily made him dinner.
Nature truly is full of surprises.
DOGDANCE – SANDRA & LIZZIE
What a clever dog!
Snuggle with the cubs while tagging Mum…..