Fight During Over-head Flight: Bear Physiological Responses to Drones
The drone landscape is rapidly changing as more businesses incorporate drones and attention from hobbyists increases. Drones have also been proposed as a conservation monitoring tool, both for counting elusive species and for surveying/deterring poachers. A group of researchers wanted to know how animals respond when drones are flown overhead, so they fit four bears with GPS collars and heart monitors to measure fight-or-flight response. They observed that heart rates increased yet the bears rarely ran away from the drone. Some of the flights were conducted over a female with cubs, her heart rate increased the most and took the longest time to recover. The researchers also suggested that physiological responses were tempered if the bear could hear the drone approach, and that bears could be “surprised” by the drone depending on how the direction of the wind masked the sound.
Wildlife Continue to Refuse to See Country Borders
If you read this full paper, it’s not for the science! The authors show multiple lines of evidence that 76% of African elephants cross borders between countries, which is not a surprising result. What is interesting about this paper is the discussion about how to set wildlife management and policy outside of a nationalist perspective. The authors argue that consistent species based policies instead of patchwork policies based on borders promotes conservation. While elephant harvest and ivory trade policies are very specific conservation issues, following how elephant range states work together for conservation will be informative for other species with trans-national borders.