German Cops to Use Vultures to Find Corpses

Trio of vulture detectives given the names Sherlock, Miss Marple, Columbo
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2011 9:09 AM CDT
"The vultures may work much more effectively than sniffer dogs," a police spokesman says.   (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
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(Newser) – The world's first three police vultures are undergoing training in Germany. Police hope the bird detectives—named Sherlock, Miss Marple, and Columbo—will prove more effective than sniffer dogs at finding dead bodies because of their exceptional eyesight and sense of smell, along with their ability to search large areas of territory, the BBC reports.

The birds are being trained using a piece of shroud from a mortuary, and if the experiment is successful, vultures could be joining many other police forces. "There's a lot of interest in this. We've had inquiries from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland," a police spokesman says. One big worry, however, is that the vultures may start pecking at any corpses they find. And a second big worry: Sherlock sometimes prefers to search on foot. (Read more police stories.)

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