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AUT finds right height for drones to track marine wildlife

Noise and shadows from low-flying drones can cause significant stress to marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, an Auckland University of Technology study has found.

Researchers found that when drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), flew lower than 25 metres, they caused stress reactions such as tail slaps, changes in swimming direction and jumping out of the water for a pod of bottlenose dolphins in waters off Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland.

The findings are published online in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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