Friday, 14 August 2015

When a 'UFO' flies by, does it bother bears?


Date: August 13, 2015

Source: Cell Press

Summary: If an unidentified flying object suddenly appeared in the sky, it's likely your heart would beat faster. Now, researchers have found that the same is true for bears.

The UFOs in this case are actually unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have become increasingly valuable to wildlife researchers, allowing them to observe animals, including endangered species, in their natural settings from long distances and over difficult terrain. It had appeared as though the animals were taking these encounters in stride. For instance, American black bears rarely seem to startle or run away when a UAV comes near. But the new study reveals that despite the bears' calm demeanor when in the presence of UAVs, their heart rates soar, a sign of acute stress.

"Some of the spikes in the heart rate of the bears were far beyond what we expected," says Mark Ditmer of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. "We had one bear increase her heart rate by approximately 400 percent--from 41 beats per minute to 162 beats per minute. Keep in mind this was the strongest response we saw, but it was shocking nonetheless."

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