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Breading seals are being disturbed by drones flying close to them

Written by Quadrum Lee

September 10, 2019

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Pembrokeshire is a county in the southwest of Wales (Southwest Britain) and it has one of the largest seals colonies in the world. Record of the highest-ever annual birth rate of seals pups is in west wales. They stay out of the water during the breeding season. The pups also stay with their mother away from land until they have trebled their birth weight and molted their white coats. This takes around half a month.

But those breading seals are being disturbed by drones flying close to them, some experts have warned. Usually, The grey seals in Pembrokeshire breed from August to November, but due to lack of awareness has prompted them being frightened into the water with the potential not to return.

Researchers in Swansea University has so far discovered drones with 4 propellers are most likely to cause issues. It has prompted calls for people to find out about flying them close to wildlife. Paul Renfro, who works with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, said a boycott would be hard to enforce but acting responsibly would make a difference.

3 Important things you should care for your next drone trip

1. Don’t ever try to land your drone on a beach with seal pups present.
2. Stay at least 50 meters out from the shore. (If they’re starting to look at you, then go away from there)
3. Never paddle your boat between a seal and her pup.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has issued a code for the drone use. Anouska Mendzil-Griffiths, one of the researchers who participated in the study, said the effect was quickly clear in the more remote area where they tested the automatons. They told “We saw that even just our presence was disturbing them”. some steals shuffling and then flushing into the water.

They don’t show much disturbance with a fixed-wing drone since it looks a bit like a bird, but they were very disturbed with multi-copter drones and especially at heights that were very close to them.

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