Germany: German police are hoping that Sherlock could be the latest, low-tech weapon in their armoury. They want to harness Sherlock’s incredible sense of smell to locate the dead bodies that sniffer dogs can’t reach. They want to attach GPS tracking devices to Sherlock and get him to find the corpses of people who have disappeared in remote areas.
Birds generally rely mostly on sight to locate their supper. But vultures like Sherlock have a keen sense of smell and are able to detect the scent of rotting flesh from 1000 metres up in the air.
He can even find remains in woodland or in thick undergrowth. And unlike sniffer dogs, which need regular breaks, Sherlock is indefatigable and can cover vast tracts of land.
He is being readied for his new mission at Walsrode south of Hamburg, the largest bird park in the world with 650 different species from all corners and every different habitat of the globe spread over 24 hectares (60 acres).
The bird, which is more at home soaring over South America’s Andes or the Atacama Desert than northern Germany’s Lueneburg Heath, is being taught by trainer German Alonso to love the putrid smell of dead human flesh.