Don’t stress the wildlife, Swiss drone pilots warned

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Don’t stress the wildlife, Swiss drone pilots warned
A royal eagle catches a drone during flight during a military exercise at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

A new brochure published on Wednesday aims to inform drone pilots about how they can avoid stressing out animals and birds.


With the use of drones on the rise in areas that were previously undisturbed, Swiss wildlife associations and drone groups are warning about the possible impact of remote-controlled aircraft on birds and animals.

In information published on Wednesday, groups including the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach, the Swiss Hunting and Fishing Association (KWL) and the Swiss Federation of Civil Drones noted that animals and birds can perceive drones as a threat.

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The subsequent rise in stress levels can have an impact on survival and reproduction, the groups said in a new brochure.

Drone pilots are advised not to fly directly at animals or birds, or to pursue them.

They are also being told to break off flight immediately if their aircraft is attacked by crows, ravens or birds of prey. In these cases, the drones are being perceived as a threat.

Users of drones are also advised not to use drones in locations where there are flocks of water birds. In these situations, when one bird is startled, this can lead to many individuals taking flight.

At the same time, distance should be maintained between drones and sensitive areas such as cliff faces, hedges and reed beds. Birds and animals that live in these habits are easily disturbed, even when the threat is some distance away.

Drone pilots are also asked not to operate their aircraft in or near Swiss natural reserves or so-called “quiet zones”. The use of drones within waterbird or migratory bird reserves is banned.

Drones are also not permitted in Switzerland’s hunting ban areas.

Read also: It's OK to shoot down drones, say Swiss legal experts


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