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Drone crash misses albatross nest by 5m

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/10/2016

A drone crash that narrowly missed an albatross nest at a South Island colony has prompted warnings from conservationists.

The Department of Conservation says a drone being illegally flown at the Taiaroa Head colony last week crashed, missing an observatory by 10 metres and landing just five metres from an albatross nest.

Operations manager Annie Wallace said that incident - and another on Tuesday - reflected a growing use of drones in the area by locals and tourists over the last year - despite the fact the airspace was restricted and unauthorised operators could face jail time.

"This is a real risk to all the iconic and threatened species of wildlife on the headland," she said.

The department says use of drones over the area is only allowed by DOC permit and signs are being erected to warn visitors.

Those breaching the rules could face prison sentences of up to two years and fines of up to $100,000, it said.

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