Keep your drones away from wildlife, Okanagan Conservation Officers warn | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Keep your drones away from wildlife, Okanagan Conservation Officers warn

Harassment includes worry, exhaust, fatigue, annoy, plague, pester, tease, or torment wildlife.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/CONSERVATION SERVICE OF BC
April 17, 2021 - 7:00 PM

The Conservation Officer Service is reminding people that it's illegal to harass wildlife with drones.

A group of a half dozen young people was seen Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m. operating a drone that was chasing and harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles in the Herbert Heights area of Knox Mountain Park.  

B.C.'s Conservation Officer Services says the bald eagles in this nesting area were extremely agitated by the proximity of the drone chasing them, which according to Section 27 of B.C.'s Wildlife Act is an offence to herd or harass wildlife with the use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or mechanical device. Harassment includes worry, exhaust, fatigue, annoy, plague, pester, tease, or torment wildlife.

"Wildlife is sensitive to disturbance, especially at certain times of the year — their mating seasons or when newborns are around," the Conservation Service said in a press release. "The last thing they need is to be harassed by a drone."

The existing law also makes it illegal “to use a powerboat, aircraft, or motor vehicle or other mechanical devices to herd or harass wildlife.” The equivalent fine is up to $100,000 and/or one year in prison.

Also, even if drones are being used with birding interests, it's a problem, particularly when photographers use drones to get too close to nesting birds or hover over steep slopes harassing mountain goats and mountain sheep who are rearing their newborns.

Anyone with information related to this incident or if you are witnessing what you suspect is an active or in progress wildlife violation please call Report All Poachers and Polluters 24-Hr Hotline: 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or if the situation is not an emergency, report the incident online at the Website: RAPP.BC.CA.

BC Wildlife Federation pays rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons who have violated laws related to the protection of fish, wildlife, or the environment.


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