Dolphin Pod Stampede Video Caught by Drone [Video]


Drone technology has been something of controversy in recent times. These remote controlled, unmanned planes have been viewed by many as simply a way for government agencies to implement spy technology at the expense of the public’s privacy.  However, as we can see in this video caught of the coast of Southern California, by David Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, there may be some scientific advantages to this developing application. Here, in this clip, one can see a dolphin pod stampede caught by “Captain Dave’s” own drone (clip also includes drone footage of a humpback whale and calf).

Earlier this week, a boater just off Dana Point in Southern California happened to spot an amazing spectacle – a large dolphin pod grouped together in the particularly calm seas of the Pacific. Soon after the sighting, Anderson was contacted, who excitedly yet calmly headed to check out the situation. By the time Anderson arrived on the scene, these aquatic mammals were surging through the waters in a stampede formation.

It was clear, he needed to send up his drone and get a nice aerial view of this natural, yet mysterious phenomenon. Scientists have never been 100 percent sure as to what may make a pod of dolphins stampede. In many cases, larger groupings, called mega-pods, can be up to five miles wide. A few possibilities for such an occurrence include a massive hunt for food, common fear of a predator, or even an opportunity for mating. In this case, “Captain Dave” has made it clear that it was not his boat which caused the dolphins to “run” as they had begun their spectacular show before he’d even arrived.

It is moments like these that show positive sides of the disputable technology. Not too long ago, when drones were not so accessible to the average person, it would have been almost impossible for one to capture a stampeding dolphin mega-pod on video with such ease and clarity. With all the mystery and questions still being posed to scientists around the world, regarding natural and man-made phenomena within our environment, it’s innovation like this that may allow for further study and possible answers to the queries human beings continue to be puzzled over.

Although this is the first drone video Anderson has shared with the public, it is not his first time using the technology. In fact, he recently had to replace a drone that had, unfortunately, “drowned” at sea. While that may have cost him just below 2k, it’s a small amount he says, as it there normally would have been a price tag between “$10,000 and $20,000” just to get the incredible footage.

According to Anderson, if drones become illegal: “… they’ll be outlawing [a window] into the lives of these beautiful animals.” It’s clear that this controversial technology has people rallying on both sides of the spectrum. One universal truth, however, is that with drone technology becoming more and more consumer friendly, actually capturing something on video like Anderson’s stampeding dolphin pod will become more common and may lead to greater discovery.

By Josh Taub

11 Alive 
National Geographic

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