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Reality Behind Viral Bear Cub Video May Reveal the Dark Side of Drone Photography

According to scientists, the cub which kept falling down may have reached the top earlier and with much more ease, had it not been for the drone filming it.

News18.com

Updated:November 9, 2018, 3:36 PM IST
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Reality Behind Viral Bear Cub Video May Reveal the Dark Side of Drone Photography
According to scientists, the cub which kept falling down may have reached the top earlier and with much more ease, had it not been for the drone filming it.
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Remember the viral video of a bear cub attempting to climb a snow hill to get to his mother? While at firstthe video was being hailed as a lesson in perseverance, new information has come to light that may reveal a darker truth.

While the video of the cub's struggle was widely shared as an inspirational video on social and legacy media last week, wildlife and conservation experts have since noted that the struggle may have been intensified due to the presence of a drone.

In the almost 4-minutes-long video, the cub and his mother can be seen embroiled in a difficult situation where the tiny cub is unable to pull his weight up the snow cliff. While the mother reaches the top quickly, the cub takes many more moments and several falls before it could finally reach her at the top.

It can, however, be noted that cub may have reached the top earlier and with much more ease, had it not been for the drone. Some people noted that just one minute into the video, the drone zooms in very close to the cub. It's mother, alerted by the approaching drone, can be seen directly looking at it and then even attempting to swat at it. The commotion caused the cub which had almost reached the top to fall down again. Experts feel that the bear's swatting may be indicative of protective behaviour. She probably construed the approaching drone as a threat and tried to swat at it to protect her cub.

Though the video ended happily with both bear and cub walking away after the successful climb, the footage has reopened the increasingly conflicted conversation regarding the use of drones to capture remote wildlife activity. With a decrease in the price of drone and higher availability, many including photographers, amateur wildlife enthusiasts and even social media influencers now use drones to capture the perfect, most unusual shots. However, the toll it may be taking on wildlife is slowly being documented.

Several previous reports such as one in BBC in August state that drones flying too close to animals may be seen by them as alien objects and therefore threats. Drones that have been used to film bird colonies and raptors could possibly affect the birds. The loud sounds that usually accompany a drone (or even the calming music pieces that are sometimes added to drown out the whirring) may confuse animals as these are not naturally occurring sounds that these animals are used to.

Dmitry Kedrov, who shot the video in Russia's Sea of Okhotsk, has denied flying the drone close to the bears. He told a Russian news portal that the zoom effects were achieved in post production. However, scientists have expressed doubts to this theory as most standard drones do not have the ability to accommodate very high-quality cameras, National Geographic reported.

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