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Nature & Environment

Aerial drones can scare black bears to death

By T.K. Randall
August 14, 2015 · Comment icon 7 comments

Black bears are thought to be particularly vulnerable to drone noise. Image Credit: PD - Jon Sullivan
New research suggests that drones stress bears out so much that they can suffer a heart attack.
Aerial drones have long proven invaluable for collecting scientific data over otherwise inaccessible regions of woodland, but now a new study has revealed that their signature buzzing noise has the potential to significantly stress out some of the local wildlife.

Scientists made the discovery after flying a drone across a remote region in which bears had been fitted with heart rate monitors and GPS locators. They found that in some individuals there was a heart rate increase of more than 400% - enough to trigger a cardiac arrest.

Up until now it had been believed that frightened bears would attempt to flee upon a drone's approach but now it seems that they just stay in one spot and stress out about it instead.
"I couldn't believe it," said lead study author Mark Ditmer. "It became strikingly obvious that we were seeing a pretty acute stress response that was pretty severe, at least in some cases."

The findings could have an impact on how drones are used over remote areas and suggest that other animals could be similarly affected even though no direct evidence of this has been found.

"Just because we're not noticing an animal changing behavior, that doesn't mean there's not some sort of negative response happening," said Ditmer.

Source: CBC.ca | Comments (7)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ashotep 9 years ago
I bet they could trigger a heart attack in some people too. Edit: I wonder how they react when seeing a hunter, 4 wheeler, etc. I would like to know if these things also increase their heart rate like the drone did. If not then drones should be kept out of National Forests and parks.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Dark_Grey 9 years ago
If not then drones should be kept out of National Forests and parks. That's the crux of the whole bigger issue - how can we "keep drones out" of anywhere? Some are the size of cell phones (or smaller)
Comment icon #3 Posted by travelnjones 9 years ago
I think private property should equal private air space for sure. at least up to 100 feet
Comment icon #4 Posted by Infernal Gnu 9 years ago
This is exactly how we all will react soon when buzzing artificially intelligent autonomous killer drones zero in on us outdoors or smash through the windows of our homes and eliminate us and robots take over the world.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Athena1979 9 years ago
Smokey the bear says, "kids, only YOU can prevent bears from having heart attacks caused by aerial drones!"
Comment icon #6 Posted by Goodnite 9 years ago
Maybe they like the drones, like people like thrill rides. Heart rates go up then also.
Comment icon #7 Posted by TonopahRick 9 years ago
Maybe it's just a sexual thing the sound turns them on.


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