This screenshot shows a raptor attacking a drone in the Jiutianfenglian scenic area in Zhangjiajie City, central China's Hunan Province, on May 14, 2023. (Xinhua)
CHANGSHA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Following recent raptor attacks on aerial drones, a scenic area in Zhangjiajie City, central China's Hunan Province, has moved to ban flying drones in order to better preserve biodiversity.
Flying any kind of rotary-wing drone within the Jiutianfenglian scenic area has been prohibited in an effort to protect biodiversity and minimize the interference and damage to the bird habitat and breeding, said the forestry bureau of Sangzhi County.
On May 10, a drone pilot was shooting a video in the scenic area and a raptor suddenly seized the drone. On May 14, a drone that had been deployed to find the original missing drone was also captured by a bird of prey shortly after it had left the ground.
It's likely that the birds of prey attacked the drones because they mistook them for "prey" or "invaders" intruding into their territory, according to Jiang Fangming, an official with the Zhangjiajie forestry bureau.
Some tourists and aerial photography enthusiasts like to fly drones to take videos of scenic spots less visited, such as mountains, canyons, and lakes, but do not know that drones may be harmful to birds, said Deng Xuejian, a professor at the College of Life Sciences at Hunan Normal University.
The interference of drones can affect the normal activities of some small birds and potentially injure large birds such as eagles should they attack the drones, Deng added.
Anyone who violates the ban will be punished by relevant departments according to law, and drone flights of official business can be launched after approval, according to the forestry bureau of Sangzhi County. ■