The field of conservation technology has experienced many advancements, and drones do play a major role here. These crewless vehicles that take the aerial route are programmed to fly either with a remote controller or even unaided. The military has used drones for a long time, and companies find them helpful while mapping roadways.
Demand for their application in conservation technology is growing day by day. They are of smaller sizes and pretty much affordable. However, there are some ethical issues with using drones in wildlife conservation. The following points will be discussing these issues in detail. Read on.
Drones are much useful in issues concerning the safety of aerial surveys, which a pilot does. Drones can fly completely unmanned into otherwise inaccessible territories. If a crash happens, the smaller size of these vehicles does not cause any heavy damage.
Therefore, the ground staff who are operating the drones don’t have to face any injury. Fixed-wing drones are probably less risky than rotary-wing drones since, in the situation of a mechanical failure, the rotary-wing ones can fall vertically and hit the ground. The fixed-wing ones can smoothly glide down to safety.
Drones are indispensable as far as new surveillance technology and are making appearances in numerous industries. But, is keeping a watch on people without prior intimation is ethical? Isn’t that something you would consider a breach of privacy? Though it isn’t clear how unethical, people wouldn’t certainly give the nod to that. Though drones are perfect if monitoring an area is the purpose, they can fly them into the private territory.
This is because of their small size. Drones utilized for conservation purposes will gather information about people and use them without taking the consent of the people. When they publish the research data eventually, it might invite negative reactions from those monitored.
Drones are capable of creating fear, apprehension, and confusion among the people on the ground. This happens because often, surveillance takes place without letting them know. Lack of transparency and communication is the main reason why people think of all this as a conspiracy theory, and you can’t blame them.
They fear that the data from these drones might reach wider networks. And in the future, countries worldwide can use the data for research in their nations. However, there is one more major concern. There is a high probability that someone can shoot and dismantle the drones. When this happens, the data runs the risk of falling into the hands of hackers and other anti-social elements. This could put national security at risk.
How the wildlife perceives these drones is related to species, habitat, the kind of drones, and their operation. The drones, which are large and noisy, leading to a fight-or-flight response in animals.
And this is especially the case when they see the drones approaching them at high speeds. If the use of drones has the biggest impact on the wildlife, it’s the birds. The herd species have a dramatic response to a drone when they see it approaching them. Extensive research needs to be done on what effects drones have on wildlife.
As discussed earlier, people automatically become pretty apprehensive when they see drones flying over them. They are in fear and confusion since they have no idea why these drones are in use. They consider this a breach of their privacy and link it to conspiracy theories and suspicions.
People residing in remote areas have no idea about technology, and they can’t even imagine what use drones can be up to in their wildest dreams. So, it’s pretty normal for them to be suspicious and find it alarming to see a device hovering around in the sky. The same happened in Tanzania while testing conservation drones. Due to drones, there is a lack of face-to-face communication, which ultimately leads to a deterioration of relationships between conservation workers and the people living in the locality.
One cannot deny that drones are a formidable approach towards applying technology in forest management and wildlife conservation. However, we also need to agree that there is a possibility of this technology having unfavorable results. So, it is important to understand the challenges that come with the technology and use it ethically.