Police detain a pigeon smuggling 178 ketamine pills in a custom-made backpack.
Once released, a pigeon can fly up to 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) and still find its way home.
Therefore, when postal service, telephones, text, and internet messaging didn't exist, people used these birds to deliver messages across long distances.
For instance, in World War I, they were used by the army to relay messages.
Even today, some communities still use this form of communication to stay in touch with their friends.
But as it turns out, drug smugglers are now using this pigeon service to get their products to their customers.
Pigeon Caught with a Backpack Full of Drugs
Authorities in Kuwait had been tracking a homing pigeon flying from Iraq with a small backpack strapped to its back.
Funny enough, the officers managed to detain the bird in a building near the customs department.
Inside the custom-made backpack were 178 ketamine pills, an anesthetic used as a party drug.
While the officers had long known smugglers were using pigeons to smuggle drugs, this was their first successful attempt to capture the bird.
Other Instances of Pigeon Smuggling
Law enforcement officials elsewhere have identified previous cases where pigeons have been used to carry high-value illicit drugs.
In 2015, correctional officers in Costa Rica caught a pigeon carrying cocaine and cannabis in a zipped pouch.
And in 2011, a Colombian cop found a pigeon that could not fly over a prison wall due to the weight of coke and marijuana it was carrying.
How Do Pigeons Smuggle Drugs?
Pigeons have incredible navigational skills, and their ability to find their way to home has baffled scientists.
Here are some theories to their direction-finding prowess:
1. Their sense of smell
Pigeons use smell to find their home. So they follow scent and wind patterns to find their way back.
2. They memorize a pattern
Using landmarks, a pigeon can memorize the optimal pattern home.
3. They use low-frequency sound waves
The birds also use low-frequency sound waves called infrasound to create a mental map of the topography of their location.
Other theories include the idea that pigeons use changes in Earth's magnetic field to map out an area. Another theory states that they rely on the sun's arc as a guide.