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Seal disturbance in the UK

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Unfortunately Cornwall seal group recently reported somebody flying a drone near seals; Drone disturbance - Cornwall Seal Group

Swansea University has researched disturbance; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-49595781

The Welsh study found quads to be more disturbing than fixed wing drones but it isn't clear if they tested a hex. However, I found the Typhoon H also capable of disturbance as I did a flight to test this, reporting back to our environmental agency, shortly after the H was introduced.

It would obviously be best to keep away from seals especially during the breeding season which starts in June for the Common seal and ends in November for the Grey. I don't know about the rest of the UK, but here in Northern Ireland seal disturbance at any time and in any way is an illegal act.
 

Mrgs1

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Alleged sighting with a stock photo? We could all say we took a photo, And a study finds it to be disturbing, any animals could be disturbed By a drone, that's obvious, anybody could make it up, just say it's a drone, doesn't matter if it's s lie, guilty until proven innocent, but will never know, but because it says drone then it must be! If it's true then it was an idiot.
 
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I have found that animals pay no attention if my H is over 150ft AGL. (except near birds in flight)
 

Mrgs1

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I have found that animals pay no attention if my H is over 150ft AGL. (except near birds in flight)
Fair comments. Most articles are to stir up trouble.
 

FlushVision

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I have found that animals pay no attention if my H is over 150ft AGL. (except near birds in flight)
In my experience I have found that, generally, animals don't particularly give a flying fig about drones unless you are particularly close to them. I say 'generally' because my TH has been harried by a bird on two occasions to the point that I curtailed my flights, but two occasions taken from hundreds of flights hardly indicates a problem. Indeed, on those two occasions it was the birds that entered my operating area chasing my drone...not me intentionally flying close the them.

IMHO stay a sensible distance from animals and they will be just fine.
 
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PatR

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With repetition, animals quickly become accustomed to new disturbances. It’s called “adaptation”.

If man can walk through a seal colony without causing a significant disturbance, they should be able to handle a fly over. Lord help them if a research helicopter over flies them.
 

Ty Pilot

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I agree Pat, at my flying field, the birds and other wildlife have become accustomed to my Typhoon and I can fly among and around them without causing any disturbance. I suspect being there weekly over a period of a about a year has been the time it took. Here is a short clip I did last spring when I was shooting my Steady Drive video.

 

PatR

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A long time ago I was involved in a lawsuit where an ostrich rancher was suing an RC club for disturbing her stupid birds. She claimed damages for birds being injured from stampeding out of fear. The experts stated they would normally acclimate to the presence of RC planes flying in the area, and the frequency this was occurring would get it done quickly.

I know cattle and horses adapt to RC aircraft, including drones, pretty well, and seals are pretty intelligent. That intelligence was demonstrated to me by my daughter, who was a marine mammal trainer at Marine World. Also, seals do not inherently fear birds. Sharks, killer whales, and bears, but not birds.
 
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Mrgs1

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A long time ago I was involved in a lawsuit where an ostrich rancher was suing an RC club for disturbing her stupid birds. She claimed damages for birds being injured from stampeding out of fear. The experts stated they would normally acclimate to the presence of RC planes flying in the area, and the frequency this was occurring would get it done quickly.

I know cattle and horses adapt to RC aircraft, including drones, pretty well, and seals are pretty intelligent. That intelligence was demonstrated to me by my daughter, who was a marine mammal trainer at Marine World. Also, seals do not inherently fear birds. Sharks, killer whales, and bears, but not birds.
But what you say, they don't want to hear, the more negativity the better, drone users have to be singled out and shamed. Perhaps with the goal of completely banning it's use, for hobby flyers.
 
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A long time ago I was involved in a lawsuit where an ostrich rancher was suing an RC club for disturbing her stupid birds. She claimed damages for birds being injured from stampeding out of fear. The experts stated they would normally acclimate to the presence of RC planes flying in the area, and the frequency this was occurring would get it done quickly.

I know cattle and horses adapt to RC aircraft, including drones, pretty well, and seals are pretty intelligent. That intelligence was demonstrated to me by my daughter, who was a marine mammal trainer at Marine World. Also, seals do not inherently fear birds. Sharks, killer whales, and bears, but not birds.
These are not captive animals, but are highly mobile wild populations. The individuals that are present on one day are unlikely to be the same the following day or week. Individuals are variably sensitive and it is normal for some to be easily disturbed. When the most sensitive are disturbed, their reactions are quickly picked up by the colony, so that all adults soon end up in the water. Unlike the adults, offspring may not be able to retreat.
Human nature being what it is, some pilots are likely to fly closer and lower for that better shot until the animals react. FlushVision suggests keeping a sensible distance and I think keeping well clear of them is best.
 
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This guy looks like he could care less. Parrot Anafi video in the UK.

 
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Thanks for that. Here's a bit more. Don't think they liked the drone, although it is smaller and quieter than many. As I said, closer and lower until the animals react.

 
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Thanks for that. Here's a bit more. Don't think they liked the drone, although it is smaller and quieter than many. As I said, closer and lower until the animals react.

Looks to me like just another day in the life and times of a seal in the UK wheather it be a drone or a human walking up with a hand held camera. Really don't see anything that might have hurt the seal if it was human or drone interaction.
 
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That's sad. You may still have plenty of wildlife in your country, but we do not and most of what remains is under some pressure. Overall, our seal populations seem to be stable, with losses in some areas, possibly due to the legal protections they receive. Some people are careless and others wilful; I remember bird-watching at a UK RAMSAR site (afforded international protections) when a spaniel owner set her dogs among a flock of geese that had just arrived from Iceland. From the short video clip, we cannot know how much the seals have been disturbed that day or that week by the drone or by other human activities. The seal in the first video seems to have been disturbed by the drone and appears to be nervously looking around. In the second the animals are retreating towards the water and then the drone turns to reveal that it has got between the seal and the water, preventing its retreat. On panning around it seems that the seals were on the only suitable haul-out in the area. They are most unlikely to return until the tide changes as climbing back up a slipperly muddy slope is not easy. These seals should be protected and if they are, a successful prosecution would seem likely.
 

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