Few experiences are more thrilling and thrilling than encountering wild wildlife for themselves. While encountering wildlife may be thrilling or frightening, knowing what steps to take can make the encounter safe and enjoyable for all involved.
This study explores how animal encounters contribute to visitor satisfaction at a nature park. Respondents were able to articulate animal experiences using Nature Interaction Patterns and Psychological Descriptions as measuring criteria for satisfaction with their experience at a nature park.
1. Don’t Startle the Animal
Wildlife watching in the wild can be an amazing experience, yet unexpected encounters with wild animals may be disconcerting. By keeping calm and watching from a distance, you will remain safe while still respecting their natural habitats and habits.
Contacting wild animals too closely can have detrimental effects, including disrupting their behaviour and increasing stress, leading to aggression or attacks. It’s essential that animals be given enough space, particularly young or cub-bearing ones; Yellowstone National Park recommends staying 100 feet or two bus lengths away from bears and wolves for optimal protection.
Never feed animals as this may harm them and their normal eating patterns as well as attract them into human areas such as trails or campsites. Furthermore, avoid inviting these wild creatures into your home by not leaving food out in the open and taking measures to remove pet food from outside your property.
2. Give the Animal Space to Leave
Wild animals inhabit our landscapes and bring beauty and intrigue. However, encounters between people and wildlife can also be stressful, leading to illness and injuries for people as well as habitat loss for the animals themselves.
People bringing food, garbage and scented toiletries into areas where animals live is one cause of these interactions, leading them to become stressed or aggressive towards humans bringing these attractants in – even killing or injuring animals as they try to escape humans in some instances.
Parks advise visitors to remain at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, 25 yards from other wildlife species, and do some research about any that might be present before visiting any particular location. Understanding their natural behavior will give an idea of what you might expect during your visit.
3. Be Patient
No matter if you’re whale-watching from a boat or encountering rattlesnakes in the wild, patience should always be exercised when encountering wildlife. Startingle an animal could cause it to associate you as potential prey and come closer toward you, potentially endangering your safety. Shouting or running could further scare it away or provoke an aggressive response.
Finding a tour that provides guidelines for safe interaction with wildlife should be of primary concern when planning any trip involving this topic. Asking whether an enterprise follows legal regulations regarding how animals in the wild should be treated (for instance by maintaining safe distance between whale-watching boats and whales) can provide insight into this matter, while reading reviews by other travelers regarding how the wildlife experiences treat the animals is an invaluable way of making an informed decision.
4. Take Pictures
Wildlife photography takes the welfare of its subjects seriously; using a good telephoto lens is key for getting beautiful shots without disturbing wildlife. Also important: learning more about your habitat and animals within it – including how they behave as well as any conservation projects or research happening nearby.
Photographing wildlife requires patience even for experienced photographers. It can be easy to be caught up in the excitement of an animal encounter and start snapping photos immediately; however, this can be very disruptive and stressful for their environment.
Take your time and experiment with different angles, settings, and lenses in order to capture the stories behind the animals you see. A lion standing still doesn’t tell much of a tale; but an image showing him yawning or staring off into another direction could reveal much more emotion about that momentous occasion.