THE Emperor Valley Zoo is warning people not to fly drones within the precincts of the zoo as this could cause grave harm to the animals.
The zoo, on its Facebook page, said on Sunday: "This morning a drone was flown inside of the giraffe enclosure at the zoo.
"We are pleading with people to not use their drones over the zoo, as this frightened the animals and could have caused the giraffe to stampede, in doing so severe injury could have occurred."
The zoo said this type of equipment causes stress and discomfort to any animal it flies close to. The zoo has two giraffes.
"We are appealing to the person or persons using their drone in the area to cease and desist from flying over the Emperor Valley Zoo. Thank you."
The post elicited a strong reaction from social media users, all of whom condemned the person who operated the drone.
"Police need to get involved, our precious animals need to be protected, people need to understand that this can cause serious injury if the animals feel frightened or threatened," one user wrote in the comment section of the zoo's post.
"That entire area is an official no-fly zone. It should be taken up with the authorities. Did you retrieve or get a good look at the drone? The more recent DJI crafts have their flight records stored by DJI and can be retrieved by request," another Facebook user posted.
"This is very unacceptable. Don't these people have any sense or consideration for the animals? What is wrong with people in this country?" another user posted.
Checks with police sources showed that just like Piarco International Airport, the Pt Lisas Industrial Estate and several other locations in the country, Port of Spain is legally a no-fly zone (NFZ) so that a person flying within the city – if not granted permission – is doing so against the law.
Permission is needed from the police service as well as the TT Civil Aviation Authority before a person can fly a drone in these restricted areas.