Sherlock, a five-year-old Turkey Vulture being trained to locate human corpses under a project commissioned by the German police.
German police are testing the use of vultures to seek out human corpses in a project aimed at speeding up criminal investigations. A bird expert at a wildlife park in northern Germany is training Sherlock, a five-year old turkey vulture, to locate fabric containing the scent of the dead.
Trained canines, such as bloodhounds, are highly effective in tracking and remembering scents, but, according to the German press, they need to take frequent breaks and can only scour 100 square meters per day, or even less if the terrain is difficult.
“Vultures can fly over many square kilometers. They could make police work much more efficient,” said an expert on forensic science and technology at the Lower Saxony criminal police force. It would take the birds just a few hours to cover areas that would take dogs days.