A recent study found that when they encounter drones, free-roaming American black bears experience elevated heart rates. Some of the bears studied went from a resting heart rate of 41 bpm all the way up to 160 bpm. Mark Ditmer, a wildlife ecologist, told Live Science that “Until we know which species are tolerant of UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles], at what distance animals react to the presence of UAVs, and whether or not individuals can habituate to their presence, we need to exercise caution when using them around wildlife, especially at close distances.”
While drones have shown us beautiful cities from above, taken us through the abandoned ruins of Chernobyl, and journeyed right into the middle of a Fourth of July fireworks display, it's fair to say that we're still weighing the pros and cons of the technology. But it seems our friends in the animal kingdom have already declared war. Who will win in this battle royale between beast and radio-controlled machine?
Round One: Drone Versus Wedge-Tailed Eagle
Result: Eagle by K.O.
The drone never stood a chance. The video, which went viral this month, shows what looks to be a serene flight above the trees. It takes an exciting turn, however, when a Wedge-Tailed Eagle zeros in on the intruder and takes it out with a swift kick to the lens. (The eagle was unhurt after the encounter.)
Round Two: Drone Versus Chimpanzee
Location: Royal Burgers’ Zoo in the Netherlands
Result: Disqualification. Illegal use of a weapon by the primate.
The other animals in this video—filmed in April in a Netherlands zoo—may not have been fans of the drone, but they lacked the height and dexterity needed to do anything about it. The chimp, however, was armed with a stick and knew exactly how to use it.
Round Three: Drone versus kangaroo
Location: Hunter Valley, Australia
Result: Kangaroo by T.K.O.
The drone put up a good fight, bobbing and weaving for two-thirds of the round. But in the end, it got way too close to Kanga and Little Roo and paid the price. The sound of the drone struggling to stay alive at the end of the video is so satisfying.
Round Four: Drone and man versus ram in a Handicap match
Location: New Zealand
Result: Double KO
Angry Ram became a minor celebrity after this video went viral in September 2014. The ram has its own Facebook page with 16k followers, all for being such a badass. Not only does he head-butt the FPV Quadcopter out of the air, but he waits for the owner to come and claim it and takes him out too. Don’t mess with angry ram.