Responsible Ways to Observe Wildlife

Many visitors to nature reserves and parks, without a doubt, want to make sure that their experience has no detrimental effects on the climate or wildlife. Many who are going on a wildlife safari for the first time, on the other hand, do not know what is and is not appropriate while on safari. 

Some visitors end up inadvertently harming wildlife as well. For instance, they may endorse practices that cause animals discomfort or anxiety or promoting wild animal capture. 

That isn’t to suggest you shouldn’t engage in wildlife tourism. Both humans and animals benefit from responsible wildlife viewing. You can enjoy nature watching while still having a low impact on wildlife. Here are five ways to observe wildlife responsibly!

1. Maintain The Safe Distance 

Tribal person on green grass near zebras

One responsible aspect of observing wildlife is being close enough to an animal to urge a transparent picture of it without upsetting it. Any wildlife spectator must not touch any animal that directly responds to another’s existence. Although it doesn’t sound sort of a big deal that an animal has spotted you and is trying to run, it can have serious repercussions. By chasing an animal so closely, you can unwittingly induce an attack, nest failure, disease, or death, or at least, you may cause them anxiety. 

Bring binoculars or a telephoto lens if you want to photograph a wild animal in its natural habitat. Although it may be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for you, these varieties of encounters may occur several times per day for the animal. 

Bears, wolves, coyotes, and cougars should be kept a minimum of 30 meters (3 buses) far away from big animals like deer, moose, elk. Stay at least 100 meters (10 buses) off from bears, wolves, coyotes, and cougars.

Reaching wildlife or inviting wildlife to encounter you will seriously impact their fear of humans, endangering you and others. If you see someone pursuing animals, caution them of the risks they are bringing to themselves, the people, and the other animals. It is not a good idea to take images with animals. Never try to photograph people with animals in the background.

2. Do Not Litter

Litter is unsightly and hazardous for animals. Wild animals may get caught in abandoned fishing lines or ingest materials that harm them. Some can even die. Therefore, it is essential to keep your surroundings clean when you go on a wildlife safari. Make sure you dispose of your water bottles, shopping bags, food wrappers, and any other litter in designated bins. If there are

When there are no rubbish bins around, be willing to take your litter home and get rid of it there.

Keep your food in storage. Most people are aware that leaving food at a picnic site or campsite draws wildlife. But, did you realize that animals are attracted to anything with an odor or smell? 

Garbage, plates, pots and pans, stoves, coolers, dog dishes, and even personal hygiene products may lure them towards you. Therefore, keep all your items in a lidded container. We recommend a dedicated storage locker or a spot in your car. 

3. Avoid Feeding Animals On Your Own

A person feeding carrots to brown deer in a car from hand

 In many areas worldwide, it is unlawful to give food to wildlife. Feeding wild animals can trigger dozens of new serious issues. For instance, sharing food or even being too close to an animal raises the chance of disease transmission between humans and animals. Colds and flu, influenza, tuberculosis, and pneumonia are among the human diseases that gorillas, chimps, and orangutans are vulnerable to. This practice can also disrupt their food chains, causing an imbalance in their natural ecosystems. When an animal tastes human food, it can tend to choose it over all other natural foods.

Some animals even begin to think that humans are the suppliers of food if we constantly feed them. It can result in them following you and sometimes even attack you. Therefore, give them only what your safari guide gives you if you wish to experience this. Dispose of trash. 

4. Stay on The Designated Trails: Respect Area Closures and Restrictions

Sign of no trespassing in the woods

Routes are meant to take you to fun places while ensuring your security and respecting the forest. Both remain on marked trails and check. If required, be ready to change your travel arrangements.

Several public open spaces remain surrounded by personally owned properties. Hence, you should carry a map and be mindful of site boundaries. Keep to the stated no trespassing sign. These indicators can send a clear message of possible risks on the premises, such as sinkholes or loose dogs, in addition to alerting you of private land. Breaking on another person’s property to observe animals is illegal.

Avoid potential disputes with landlords by placing a high priority on personal property. When you’re curious about wildlife, don’t sit on private land and use binoculars or spotting scope; instead, sit on public areas and use binoculars or a spotting scope until you have the property owner’s permission.

5. Supervise Pets and Take No Wild Animal as a Pet

Household pets are not the first thing in mind when you think about responsible wildlife viewing. However, it is worth mentioning that it is essential to maintain control over your pets when outdoors.

A dog retrieving a german quail

Wild animals may perceive pet species as threats, creating a conflict. They become cautious and aggressive to off-leash dogs in particular. Therefore, keep your pets supervised at all times to prevent any accidents. 

Before you let your pets off-leash on the beach in the winter, keep in mind that seals might be around and will bite to protect themselves. Encounters between pets and animals not only pose a grave threat of damage to wildlife, but they also pose a danger of injury and disease transmission to your pet.

A white and black colored cat, locking eyes on birds to hunt them

Some pets like cats must stay indoors for the safety of both themselves and the surrounding animals. Cats who can roam freely outside of their residences can destroy animals such as songbirds, regardless of how well-fed they are or how many bells they have on their collars. 

Annually, cats kill dozens of birds and over a billion small rodents, including rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks.

Just as you should not release into the wild, wildlife animals should not be taken home as pets: particularly, reptiles and amphibians. They have resulted in several species becoming more imperiled. Pets should only come from a pet store (or an animal shelter).

Bottomline

Have quality time while you observe wildlife safely and responsibly. As humans, we have to ensure our practices are safe for us, animals, and nature beyond. Therefore, stick to standard animal-human interaction ethics. Here are some safari activities you might want to do for more fun.