12:51 PM PDT, June 23, 2021
Many people are anxious to enjoy the outdoors after spending the last year and change inside. In California, people are spending their free time flying private drones around, and they are starting to wreak havoc on wildlife.
Private drones have crashed around the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, causing birds to get scared and abandon 1,500 of their eggs.
“It’s not just that a drone crashed or two of them,” explained Tim Daly from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’s that if a drone is flying back and forth, hovering low, they do spook the birds, they’re actually seen as predators. They leave; they think for their own safety they need to leave.”
People, dogs and bikes are welcome at the state’s nature conservancies, but drones are not because of the ecosystem’s fragility.
Officials are still looking for the person who recently crashed a drone that led to elegant terns leaving their eggs out of fear.
“This is a place where all native plants and animals are protected,” said Melissa Loebl, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Manager. “Prosecution is going to happen as we step up enforcement and there’s gonna be a larger presence of our wildlife officers to make sure people understand the rules.”