When scientists are working hard to study animals such as the Emperor Penguin, which is known to be a bit skittish of human presence, they find another way: in this case, they disguise their rover as a baby penguin!
After registering 34 king penguins with heart rate monitoring devices, scientists with a French University sent in a rover, and then sent in a rover disguised as a penguin. The results showed that the penguin-disguised rover did not startle the animals as much, and their heart rates returned to normal much more quickly in comparison to the un-clothed rover. In the case of baby penguins, the adults even let the rover enter the creche of penguins in its waddle! (note: A waddle is a name for some groups of penguins! A creche is a group of baby penguins!)
They also tested a similar experiment with elephant seals, though the results are less conclusive because there is no recorded data clearly explaining how seals typically react to humans. It is said that they get frightened very easily, but they let a rover disguised as a 7000 ton elephant seal approach them no problem!!
I love this idea: as important as scientific inquiry is for understanding our world and improving our futures, we have to ask how much it is improving our futures when it starts to interfere with the animals we are studying! This seems like another great step in the right direction :)