Low-Flying Drones Harass Endangered Belugas, Study Finds
According to a new study that was published in the journal Marine Mammal Science, drones flying at low altitudes are harassing beluga whales that live in the St. Lawrence Estuary in the Canadian province of Quebec.
The research was conducted at the University of Windsor by PhD candidate Jaclyn Aubin and her colleagues. They looked at drone footage of beluga pods from 2018 and 2019 to see why the pods were taking deep dives together and repeatedly splashing their tails.
Drones capture endangered Belugas
Aubin and her team investigated a number of aspects, such as the drone’s height, the direction of its approach, its speed, the time of day, and the amount of wind that was there.
They discovered that unexpected dives took place in just 4.3% of all drone flights; however, this percentage climbed to 14.3% when the drones flew at an altitude of less than 23 meters above the water’s surface.
This height was in…