Israel is using birds to help them search for victims of Hamas attacks. The birds are trained to identify human remains in areas that are too dangerous for human search and rescue teams to access.
The program, which is run by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), is called the “Bird’s Eye” project. The birds are trained to recognize the smell of human decomposition and to fly down to the ground and land near the remains. The birds are then equipped with GPS trackers so that the IDF can locate the remains.
This unconventional approach deploys trained birds capable of identifying the distinct odor of human decomposition. These birds courageously navigate and land in areas considered too hazardous for conventional human search and rescue teams.
Operational since 2010, the program originated during the IDF’s quest to recover the remains of soldiers from the 2006 Lebanon War. Today, various bird species, including vultures, ravens, and crows, undergo specialized training to become integral members of the “Bird’s Eye” initiative. Vultures, with their exceptional sense of smell, prove particularly adept at this critical task.
Equipped with GPS trackers, the trained birds play a pivotal role in pinpointing the location of human remains. The IDF strategically deploys them in the aftermath of incidents, such as the 2014 Gaza War, where they successfully aided in locating over 100 individuals who had fallen victim to the attacks.
The advantages of employing birds in these operations are manifold. Birds possess the ability to access perilous zones that are otherwise too risky for human intervention. Moreover, they can identify human remains from a considerable distance, facilitating a quicker and more efficient response.
Beyond their operational effectiveness, there are cost-related benefits to utilizing birds. Training and maintaining birds are relatively inexpensive compared to maintaining human search and rescue teams. Additionally, the risk of injury or casualties is considerably lower for the birds.
However, like any innovative approach, challenges exist. Weather conditions, such as high winds and rain, can impact the performance of the birds. External factors, including the presence of other animals, may also pose challenges. Training and controlling birds present their own set of difficulties, and once released into a search area, locating them can be a complex task.
Despite these challenges, the “Bird’s Eye” project remains a promising and life-saving technique. By leveraging the unique capabilities of birds, particularly in areas inaccessible to human teams, this initiative stands as a testament to innovative problem-solving in the realm of search and rescue operations following Hamas attacks.