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German Police Train Vultures To Find Bodies 54

abhatt writes "German authorities have found vultures as very valuable creatures and as such have trained some of them to be detectives. The work of the vultures is well defined — as you might have guessed they are being used to find hidden bodies. From the article: 'A police officer in Hannover, Rainer Herrmann, told reporters that, "The vultures may work much more effectively than sniffer dogs... There's a lot of interest in this. We've had inquiries from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.'"
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German Police Train Vultures To Find Bodies

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  • Vultures already knew how to find bodies!
    • Pfft. Next you'll be trying to tell me I didn't need to catch and eat all those mice, and shit in kitty litter for a week when training our cat.

      • Next you'll be trying to tell me I didn't need to catch and eat all those mice, and shit in kitty litter for a week when training our cat.

        Or lick your own...nevermind.

    • by rbarreira (836272)

      They're training a specific kind of vulture which doesn't like rotting meat.

    • by godel_56 (1287256)

      Vultures already knew how to find bodies!

      Yes, but they need to be trained to share.

      • by thej1nx (763573)

        Officer : We found the body of that missing person. Eyeballs? what eyeballs? Are you sure, he had those before?

    • by lbft (950835)
      Much like the hawks at Wimbledon that chase away the pigeons, the hard part is overriding the instinct to eat it once they've found it.
      • by Meski (774546)
        That's probably not a problem, but making them want to chase pigeons after they've eaten one would be. (go way! wanna sleep!)
    • by sigxcpu (456479)

      It's Germany, everything has a training program and everything has a manual.
      I bet the police even train in drinking beer.

      • by mwanaheri (933794)
        See, that's the problem with the 'koma-drinking' teenagers. They drink before they have benn trained to drink! no drining-licence.
  • Ingenious! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @05:25PM (#36394442) Homepage

    Now they just need to train priests to find missing children!

  • German police train flies to find shit. Film at 11.

    • by mlush (620447)
      I saw something about training bees to detect explosives (and other chemicals). Apparently you puff the vapour at the bee and give it a hit of sugar and for the next few hours it gets excited when it detects the same smell. Very sensitive but you have to retrain the insect every time you use it.
  • by Urkki (668283) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:01PM (#36394822)

    As absurd as the idea of needing to train vultures sounds at first, I'd guess the training has more to do with finding human bodies instead of every road kill in 10 km radius, and vulture coming back instead of heading south after having a quick snack from the body found, and other little practicalities like that.

    • ...when the vultures kept eating the bodies they were trained to find. I think families would be a little disturbed if they found out their dearest departed were also 'vulture chow', courtesy of the local constabulary.
    • Vultures detect carrion using smell, so you need knowledge of wind patterns where they are circling to determine carrion location. This has been suggested for use in the US when searching for a missing person, who might still be alive. While it sounds feasible, there is an associated cost in resources, which are usually limited, unless ornithologists and meteorologists are readily available and have access to local data about wind conditions. Wind conditions close to the ground, say up to 1000 feet can be
  • From what I hear, through people some may consider eccentric (undue criticism), vultures show amazing prescience and aptitude. But they've been under prejudice (perhaps well earned) for so long that they are one of those animals that haven't been as thoroughly studied as something cuter or more docile (and not associated with being the last thing you see before you die).

    I wonder what the third vulture is thinking. Is there some vulture rule of thumb that only two need to be in the air to find a body, and th

  • Vultures Show German Police How to Find Bodies
  • They have train vultures now? Ugh... Next time I'm in Germany I'll better take a car or a bus.
  • I can just imagine how this will work,

    I am truly sorry for your loss Miss Gottschalk, but your husband body was found by our flying vulture team. He was floating in the river and his left eye was eaten by one of our teammates.


  • German police declined to comment on why vultures trained to find dead bodies were found flying in frantic circles over local McDonald's restaurants.
  • Didn't they already use lawyers before?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Didn't they already use lawyers before?

      Yes, but they had to update the vulture training program when it was discovered that even vultures won't eat a dead lawyer.

  • as the vultures come from a Zoo/breeder in Austria ;-)
    • So the Austrians are breeding trained vultures? That would fit, as they are also said to produce jam by squeezing Krapfen (kind of jam-filled, Bavarian donut)
      • by kubitus (927806)
        No the vultures are their heraldic animals.


        BTW The Krapfen are Berliners, not Bavarian Donuts.

        So beware of saying: Ich bin ein Berliner *g*

Egotist: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. -- Ambrose Bierce