A survey of drone pilots and their experiences of drone-wildlife interactions

Gray, Elyce 2021, A survey of drone pilots and their experiences of drone-wildlife interactions, B. Environmental Science (Hons) thesis, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University.

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Title A survey of drone pilots and their experiences of drone-wildlife interactions
Author Gray, Elyce
Institution Deakin University
School School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Degree type Honours
Degree name B. Environmental Science (Hons)
Thesis advisor Weston, MichaelORCID iD for Weston, Michael orcid.org/0000-0002-8717-0410
Date submitted 2021
Keyword(s) bird hazards
human-wildlife conflict
unmanned autonomous vehicle
wildlife value orientations
Summary As an emergent technology, commonly applied in various fields of work and recreation, drone usage is increasing and drone-wildlife interactions are likely to increase in frequency and occurrence. These interactions can have adverse consequences for drones (e.g., damage or loss due to aggressive wildlife behaviour) and/or for wildlife (e.g., injury, disturbance). This study aims to understand: 1) the nature of drone flights, 2) the extent and occurrence of wildlife-drone interactions, and 3) how drone pilots perceive and manage these interactions, including their perceptions of the acceptability of candidate management solutions. Commercial, conservation and recreational pilots (n = 285) were classified by the nature of their flights (four types were defined via cluster analysis: ‘free fliers’, ‘route free fliers’, ‘diverse systematic fliers’, ‘grid fliers’), which differed in median flight speed (highest in diverse systematic fliers) and the number and assemblage of sensors fitted (higher/more diverse for diverse systematic fliers). Drone-wildlife interactions were common (81.0 % of respondents encountered wildlife during their flying careers, which were 1 – 39,000 hours of flight), with 17.8 % experiencing drone collision with wildlife. Pilot flight experience influenced the likelihood of collision with wildlife, with the more hours spent flying, the higher the risk of physical contact between a pilot’s drone and wildlife. Pilots were generally supportive of most candidate management solutions to manage drone-wildlife interactions (83.0 %), however, this support was mediated by underlying values and beliefs, indexed by the Wildlife Value Orientations (WVO) and Inclusion of Nature in Self (INS) scales. Specifically, the more a pilot scored on the mutualism dimension of WVO, and the more connected they were to nature (INS scale), the more likely they were supportive of a variety of management solutions to drone-wildlife interactions. The broad level of support for management among 4 most pilots, and the widespread experience of interactions with wildlife, suggests pilots may
be amenable to codes of conduct which minimise drone-wildlife interactions.

Language eng
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 4104 Environmental Management
Description of original 104 p.
Copyright notice ©All rights reserved
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30154699

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