I personally don't think this is about fining people or lynching an individual, it is about the concept of using drones in the parks.
What worries me, whether the films show this or not, is that there is a huge potential for drone operators to invade the comfort zone of an animal. Currently, with the existing "traditional" wildlife viewing methods it is the animals choice how close they come to you. If you get too close to a lion in the road then he/she will just move away till they are comfortable again, often this is out of sight, and you lose the sighting. With drones you no longer give the animal this choice. There will be good drone operators who respect the animal, as there are good drivers, but there will also be bad drone operators...as there are bad drivers who drive off road, and here lies the danger. It is easy to asses the damage from a car 10m off road into the river, but how do we asses the damage of a drone flying over resting lions?
Hence appropriate measures need to be put into place for every bodies benefit, both animal and human. What measures these are are for SANParks to decide upon.
AstroMatt that was my thought too if the drone is used for animal photography and not only for a landscape view.
I've seen videos taken by drones that showed minimum disturbance of the animals or even birds, but as soon as the drone move closer to get a better image the picture chase and the animal will flee to safety.
In the one video the photographer steered the drone towards an elephant near a tree and when getting closer you can see a troop of baboon fleeing from the tree in all directions scared like hell. If a predator was close by it could have meant the end of the baboon. It's possible that the photographer was not aware of the baboons in the tree and only saw them when they started fleeing and that is exactly the point why drones can disturb wild life and cause physical harm without the intend of the photographer. The baboons must have had some revenge plan because the next moment the drone crashed in front of the elephant and could not take off again.
In Kgalagadi and KNP its difficult to know what's behind the dune and you can easily chase a springbok herd or smaller mammals in panic straight towards the predator out of sight.
I am sure there will be numerous request for drone filming / photography in the future, but just as I need to abide to the rules and cannot hike on my own or take a drive along the maintenance roads, these photographers need to go through the right channels and apply for filming rights if they feel strongly about their hobby. The park will be able to provide assistance if they feel they can approve your application. The general code of conduct for filming can be find in the following link:http://www.sanparks.org/docs/general/aplication_form.pdf
A quote from the first paragraph can be viewed below:
Code of Conduct for Filmmakers/Photographers in National Parks
1. Never cause any physical harm or anxiety to any wild creature.
1.1. Avoid using sound recordings to attract certain species for prolonged periods.
1.2. Accept that the welfare of subjects is more important than the sequence.
1.3. Ensure that filming does not result in the consequential predation or lessened
reproduction success of the species involved.
1.4. Vacate a scene immediately should subjects show signs of abnormal stress.
1.5. Report the inhumane and illegal treatment of wild animals to the relevant authorities
whenever it is encountered.
1.6. In the case of predators, care should be taken not to disrupt its hunting techniques for
prolonged periods so that it becomes impossible for the animal to feed itself adequately.
2. Endeavour to leave the environment as it was found.
2.1. Minimize interference in and the disruption of natural processes as far as possible.
2.2. Cause minimal damage to the habitat.
2.3. Stick to recognised roads and bush tracks wherever possible and not cause
unnecessary vehicle damage to the bush.
2.4. Do not traverse ecological sensitive areas in a vehicle.