1. Title: The Dangers of Drones on Wildlife and a Viral Video of a Persistent Climbing Baby Bear
The Problem Behind a Viral Video of a Persistent Climbing Baby Bear
What appears to be a life-affirming triumph is really a cautionary tale about drones and wildlife.
The video was uploaded to the ViralHog YouTube channel on Friday, and after being shared on Twitter, it rapidly went viral. At the time of this writing, it has been watched 17 million times. The cub’s exploits were equal parts gif, nature documentary, and motivational poster. It had all the elements of an incredible story: the most adorable of protagonists, rising and falling action (literally), and a happy ending. It was a tale of tenacity in the face of adversity, triumph against the odds.
The video, they say, was clearly captured by a drone. And in it, they saw the work of an irresponsible drone operator who, in trying to film the bears, drove them into a dangerous situation that almost cost the cub its life. “I found it really hard to watch,” says Sophie Gilbert, an ecologist at the University of Idaho who studies, among other things, how drones affect wildlife.
The setting of the video is already suspicious, Lamb says. With a cub that small and vulnerable, it’s very unlikely that a mother bear would opt to traverse such a steep and slippery slope. “There’s no reason a female would normally accept that risk, unless they were forced into it,” Lamb says.
Throughout the video, he notes, the mother is constantly looking up at the drone and clearly bothered by its presence. At some point, the footage zooms in, probably because the drone itself was swooping closer. That, Lamb says, explains why the mother unexpectedly swats at the cub, causing it to fall. She probably read the drone’s approach as a kind of attack and was trying to push her cub away.
Drones are still new enough that the regulations governing their use are piecemeal. In the United States, the National Park System has banned drones within its lands. Several states prohibit hunters from using the devices to scout their targets. At the national level, the Federal Aviation Administration has rules for operating drones, but they were written to protect humans and aircraft, not animals.
That’s a shame, she says, because drones have also been a godsend for biologists who want to study creatures that are otherwise hard to reach.
3. Rating: #RobertReview (Wildlife, Drones): 8.5 | 10
5. Source: Ed Yong, The Atlantic
The Problem Behind a Viral Video of a Persistent Baby Bear
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Published: 8th November 2018.
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