Wedge-tailed eagles want nothing to do with the increasing number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, which ride the skies in Western Australia.
South Africa’s Gold Fields (JSE, NYSE:GFI), the world’s seventh-largest gold producer, has already lost ten of these vehicles since it adopted the technology at its St Ives operation. One crashed as a result of human error, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports, while the rest have been the victim of wedge-tailed eagles, the largest bird of prey in Australia and one of the world’s biggest.
They have razor-sharp talons that allow them to grab and destroy drones in flight, a feature that mine surveyor Rick Steven told ABC makes them “the natural enemy of the UAVs.”
Steven, who also holds a private pilot’s licence, said his team had attempted to engineer a solution to ward off eagle attacks by camouflaging the UAVs.
So far the miner has spent more than $100,000 replacing the lost surveying tools.
Here you can see one of the eagles taking out a drone last year: