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Whales migrating along Australia’s east coast are facing disturbances from low-flying drones, which are being used to capture viral footage. Experts are concerned that these drones could disrupt the whales’ migration patterns and potentially endanger their mating seasons. When drones fly near whales at low altitudes, the cetaceans can exhibit disturbance behaviors such as sudden dives, changes in swim direction, and increased surfacing frequencies. These behaviors can deplete the whales’ energy reserves, impacting their overall health and reproductive success.

National guidelines in New South Wales and Queensland recommend maintaining a distance of at least 100 meters from whales, with even stricter rules in place in other areas. Despite these regulations, some drone operators remain unaware and risk fines for flying too close to the animals. Experienced drone operators stress the importance of adhering to these guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of marine mammals.

Research indicates that drone disturbances to whales are likely underreported. Maintaining safe distances is crucial to avoid negatively impacting these majestic creatures during their crucial migration and mating periods.


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Article Title: Low-flying drones could disrupt whale migration off Australia’s east coast, experts warn
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