Wildlife experts are suggesting instead of seeking out footage of wildlife for your viral video, please just leave the animals alone.
A recent video out of Russia of a mother bear and her cub climbing the side of a snowy mountain has gone viral on social media for all the wrong reasons. In the clip, shot with a drone, the young cub struggles to make it up the mountain, continuing to slide in the snow. Eventually, after a few scary attempts, the cub makes it to the top and runs off with his mother.
People reposted the video using the cub’s struggle as human inspiration to never give up, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
For many, the 2 minute clip of a baby brown bear trying to scale a snow-covered mountain was a life-affirming testament to the power of persistence.— UN Biodiversity (@UNBiodiversity) November 6, 2018
But when biologists started watching the video, they saw a very different story.@TheAtlantic https://t.co/GhFGKDXXyc pic.twitter.com/eZBUOJnG69
Unfortunately, the person capturing the footage is most likely the one causing the distress. American ecologist Jacquelyn Gill said in a Twitter post:
“Harassing wildlife for a photograph, a selfie, or a video is never okay. Respect animals by giving them space, and don’t share posts where animals are clearly in distress or in danger just because someone wants to go viral.”
Harassing wildlife for a photograph, a selfie, or a video is never okay. Respect animals by giving them space, and don’t share posts where animals are clearly in distress or in danger just because someone wanted to go viral.— Dr. Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill) November 4, 2018
The video going around of a bear cub scrambling up a snowy cliff to get back to its distressed mother is being shared as a heartwarming metaphor for persistence. It’s not. It’s a dangerous stunt by an irresponsible drone operator who should know better.— Dr. Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill) November 4, 2018
There’s a lot of research on drone impacts on wildlife, and guidelines for responsible use. Check this out for more info: https://t.co/VaECRITFNq— Dr. Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill) November 5, 2018
“I found it really hard to watch. It showed a pretty stark lack of understanding from the drone operator of the effects that his actions were having on the bears.
It’s staggering—all the misuses that people are proudly posting because they don’t know any better. There’s no education right now. Nobody’s even trying to talk to folks about it.”
People weighed in agreeing that a viral video is not worth the damage caused.
Humans dont care they just want to turn it in to a monent all about them.— Cheryl Gibson(Gibby) (@msgibby077) November 7, 2018
Thank you for clearing it up and raising awareness.— Elke Barbara Bachler (@kreaWERFT) November 7, 2018
Thank you for saying the obvious. There IS a line that has been crossed. Now it’s up to those in pursuit of meaningful change/research versus fame (views/likes) to sort this out. How the rest of us can help...I do not know.— DirtyCanuck (@Mottford) November 8, 2018
You don’t have to be a bloody biologist the mother panics when the cub gets close to the top and the drone flies in close— Blapps! Productions (@BlappsRecords) November 7, 2018
You can clearly see the bears scared of the drone. I fly drones but would never in my life do something like this. Even when he notices the bear watching him, the pilot continues to fly. Just leave the bears alone please. Risking a Cubs life for a stupid drone video is beyond me.— SimpleTom (@TweakedCulture) November 7, 2018
This obsession with “going viral” at any cost has to stop.
“There’s an incentive to get these really shocking videos and become a Planet Earth-type of photographer as a recreational user,” Lamb said. “I don’t think people understand that any sort of interaction with wildlife often can come at a cost to wildlife.”https://t.co/VKyYE67nXu— Clayton T. Lamb (@ClaytonTLamb) November 6, 2018
People really should stop and think about what could go wrong when doing this. That baby could have been killed! Not funny!— My Info (@bkhollins2u65) November 7, 2018
I can’t stand drones! They’re everywhere! All most people want to do is enjoy nature but you have to endure that annoying buzz! ?Poor baby bear!— Free Jaynie (@FreeJaynie) November 7, 2018
Humans are THE fu**ing worst— BialyAndBloom (@lisarpepper) November 7, 2018
We really need to make this clear.
Don't. Approach. Wildlife. With. Drones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Dr. Sophie Gilbert (@SophieLGilbert) November 5, 2018
Seriously. You could endanger their lives, change their behavior, cause high levels of stress, and cause them to not use important parts of the landscape anymore. https://t.co/Ak4TgtIOu6
Just don’t do it.