Got animal harassment? Florida crowd cheers alligator eating their smoldering drone

drone animal harassment

Words fail – at first, anyway. Then near universal condemnation is unleashed upon the tourists who posted a video featuring their drone’s animal harassment of an Everglades alligator, and ensuing titillation when the craft is snapped out of the air and starts fuming inside the reptile’s maw.

Drone animal harassment 101: vacation video of alligator provoked into snatching the craft overhead

It’s not DroneDJ style to be negative or harping, but it’s really hard not to point out how this story manages to span several different time zones of stupidity and thoughtlessness. Based on various reports about the video, the group of tourists visiting Florida decided to use their drone to get a close-up of an alligator they’d spotted in the Everglades. That move, on its lonesome, was either ignorant or disdaining of the proliferating calls from wildlife officials around the world for pilots to avoid flying drones in any way that might constitute animal harassment. Hovering one right above an alligator in its natural habitat is precisely that – especially when it provokes the creature into gnawing a craft with several whirring rotors, and potentially toxic innards.

Were that not bad enough, someone in the group had the genius idea of uploading the footage to social media – which, in terms of drone animal harassment, is sort of akin to pickpockets posting selfies of their work lifting wallets from victims. In this case, the infraction was aggravated by the group’s eruption of surprise and mirth as the alligator jerks up and snatches the craft from above its head, then snaps its mouth open and shut as the smashed vehicle begins leaking smoke of apparent electronic origin. “Don’t eat that, George” is as close as the spectators get to actual concern for the harm they may have caused the creature.

50 shades of stupid

The final touch of ridiculous lipstick dabbed on this porcine video is a burned-in caption explaining just how clueless the pilots were about the drone, its capacities, and various rules regulating its use – such as not breaking prohibitions of animal harassment. 

“We were trying to get a close up of the gator with its mouth open and thought the obstacle avoidance would make the drone fly away,” the caption reads, noting  “it was only our second time using” the vehicle.  

Reaction on the video’s YouTube page made it very evident viewers – some of whom were obviously experienced drone users themselves – had no patience for the ignorance or thoughtlessness that produced the footage.

“I hope the person that did this is found, fined, jailed and made to be done a LOT of community service,” read one. “THIS is why drone laws are getting so restrictive.”

“The stupidity amazes me,” echoed another. “I hope they are fined and jailed.”

“(That’s) why Drones should be used only by certified pilots and not stupid people!” a third urged. “(Never) use a drone close to any wildlife… Drones are not TOYS! The pilot should be in JAIL!”

In reply to queries about the alligator’s fate, the channel that posted the footage, Viral Vids, seemed as insouciant as the tourists who made the video.

“I would be surprised if the gator survived,” its response read. “Even if the fire didn’t kill it I imagine the lithium poisoning would.”

How nice. Now, words really fail.

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