Hobby drones flying around national parks across the country are harassing wildlife and are now banned in some American states.
At Zion National Park in Utah, officials heard from witnesses that a remote-controlled drone was flying close to a herd of bighorn sheep.
The drone’s appearance and noise caused the herd to scatter, separating the young from the adults.
Park superintendent Jim Milestone said the public needs to understand that the park’s wildlife needs to be protected.
I am sure most people who fly drones have no desire to harm wildlife or endanger our other visitors. Many may not even know that it is illegal to fly a drone here at Zion.”
On Friday, the National Park Service banned the use of drones at Yosemite in California.
Park rangers say they’ve seen an increase use of drones with some visitors complaining that the devices interrupt the solitude of the park.
The complaints picked up about six months ago and are steady at three or four times each week.
Park officials are also concerned about drones having an impact on birds, preventing them from successfully nesting and driving them away from their nests.
The penalty for using a drone in Zion can be up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Several states have banned the use of drones to assist in big-game hunting, including Colorado, Montana and Alaska.
Other states such as Idaho say the prohibition of drones is covered under existing rules that ban aircraft from hunting or harassing wildlife.
Both Utah and Idaho consider the remote-controlled devices to be like any other aircraft and absolutely prohibit their use in hunting or harassing protected wildlife.
h/t: Deseret News
Photo credit: Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
And here’s a youtube video of a park visitor using his drone in the park. But no harassing wildlife here: