Drone filming on Skellig Michael poses risk to puffins, warns An Taisce; Lorna Siggins; Irish Times

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

Department of Culture says wildlife documentary work will be ‘strictly supervised’

An Taisce has expressed concern about the impact of drone use on Skellig Michael’s seasonal puffin population during filming of a documentary on the Unesco world heritage site.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed that “limited filming” of a wildlife documentary would take place on the Skelligs off the Kerry coast in June, using a drone, but said it would be “strictly supervised”.

An Taisce advocacy officer Ian Lumley said he has no objection in principle to the documentary but questioned the use of a drone for close camera work when puffins and other birdlife are nesting on the islands.

He has called on the department to introduce “strict protocols” on drone use.

Atlantic puffins are listed as an endangered species in Europe, and are “globally threatened with extinction”, according to Birdlife International’s latest Status of the World’s Birds report.

The long transatlantic migration undertaken by puffins to and from Irish islands sometimes leaves them too exhausted to breed, according to work published last year by scientists from University College Cork (UCC) and Oxford University.

Human disturbance

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