Unfortunately, it’s not in a good way, but a drone is what gets a bear’s heart racing when the gadget is flying overhead and might result in a very stressed out wild animal.
We are edging onto a future where UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) will no longer become a thing to stop and observe with curiosity. They might soon be part of our world as much as the regular airplane streaking across the sky, only they will be closer and, apparently, louder.
Amazon is moving forward with their plans of making drones a main delivery system and Google is looking into their use as wireless internet providers. Not to mention that there are certain civilians who can make use of UAVs for little but entertainment value. It’s likely that they will impact our daily lives in some way, and apparently bears will be right along there with us.
Drones are being used in South Africa with the purpose of wildlife park rangers to look out for elephant or rhino poachers, but a correspondent observing the animals’ behavior has forwarded the information to Mark Ditmer that there is a psychological stress placed upon them due to the incessant buzzing of the device.
The researcher then conducted his own study on American black bears found within the forests of Minnesota. The wild animals were already being tracked through GPS and had heart monitors attached, so he observed their behavior over 17 flights of drones circling above them to determine the amount of stress caused.
He found that all four bears were put under heavy psychological stress beneath the buzzing of UAVs. In fact, one of the study’s ‘participants’ recorded an increase in their heart pace by 400%, going from 41 bpm (beats per minute) to 160 bmp. The spikes were highly unexpected, but it seems the unfamiliar sight of a drone was quite enough to elevate their heart rate.
Perhaps fortunately though, most of the bears did not lash out or change their behavior drastically, most sitting still and watching the odd device flying above them. If the stress levels become high enough that they would run away for long periods of time, it could prompt accidents by the animals moving into traffic and suddenly appearing on roads. It did not seem to be the case.
However, just because their reaction was not outwardly expressed, does not mean the effects were not there. Ditmer also made sure to mention that the black bears part of the study did not live too far away from urban areas, so they might’ve been more accustomed to noise than other animals in different territories.
Which means that bears, wolves or many others may react much worse to the presence of UAVs. The study supports the decision made in 2014 to ban all uses of drones within the boundaries of national parks.
The problem now stands about their usage above wild habitats. Out of all of the animals found deep within the forest, a stressed out bear might be the last one you want to encounter.
Image source: valuewalk.com