A video of a baby bear struggling to conquer a snowy slope on the coast of Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk was taken as an inspirational story by the news outlets but a dark side of filming this scene was revealed by scientists, claiming that animals being threatened by the drone.
The video, which has been watch more than 22 million times on Twitter, shows the mother brown bear and her cub clambering up the hill. The mother successfully reaches the clifftop while the baby bear slips three times before making it to the top.
Many media organisation took up the video with a specific angle with the age-old proverb, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again”. But the outlets did not shed light on the encroachment of the drone camera being used to capture the emotional happening.
For instance, after two failed attempts, the cub was close to reaching the top when the drone camera zooms extremely close to the bears. At the same time, the mother appears to consider it an attack and swat at the device—which then seems to cause the cub to fall back down the slope.
Numerous scientists have voiced concerns on social media about the way the video was filmed.
“It could be a zoom on the video camera, but most consumer drones don’t have the payload capacity to carry a camera with a high-quality zoom lens,” says Mark Ditmer, a wildlife ecologist at Boise State University who has studied the physiological impact drones have on black bears, told National Geographic.
“I could be wrong, but I would have to guess this is the drone approaching rapidly and the mother panicking and swatting out of fear,” Ditmer added.
On the other hand, Dmitry Kedrov, who shot the film, talking to a Russian website clarified that the zoom effect was done in post-production, adding that the drone did not frighten the mother bear.
After the bear cub incident, experts have urged people to use drones carefully when flying near wild animals.