How Wildlife Respond to UAVs


        Isn’t this the cutest, most snuggly bear you’ve ever seen? It’s no wonder researchers want to get up close and personal with these animals. With the expansion of drone use, researchers are using drones to monitor wildlife. With the new drone craze it’s become easier and more affordable to collect data regarding our landscapes and wildlife. But what about how these animals feel about a drone flying overhead and entering their habitat? Research is now being done to find out if animals have any physiological reactions to drones flying near them. One way they measured these reactions was by taking the heart rate of black bears from Minnesota. Researchers implanted a sensor in the bears to take the heart rate before and after drone exposure.  According to the data, almost every trial indicated a significant raise in heart rate when the drone flew near by. The interesting thing though, is that the bears didn’t really show signs of fear by running away, their heart rates simply went up. In one case a bear’s heart rate went from 39 to 132 beats per minute.

        Drones are relatively small and not very loud. I’m sure that certain types of birds or nearby cars would cause more commotion then a drone. I think that it’s useful to do some research on how wildlife react to drones because in the future drones will become one of the most important research tools. Because so many people are starting to use drones for recreation, business, research and photography, researchers are curious what impacts these uses will have on wildlife. More research is being done to find potential impacts on birds and other animals.


Jennifer S. Holland. August 25th 2015. “How Drones are Affecting Wildlife in Surprising Ways.” National Geographic. April 28th 2016.


  1. This is very interesting! People use drones all the time to try and protect endangered species, but its important to understand that the animals might be affected by the strange objects following them around. I’m sure that as drone technology advances, drones will become less noisy and the animals will be even less affected.

  2. Elliot Bender

    This is a very interesting study. What can this really tell us is the next question to ask. I mean their heart rates must increase from a number of different disturbances other than drones. And I also wonder if that is a dangerous amount of beats a second for them or is it just part of their physical condition. Good post!

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