It has been awhile since the last discussion on Leave no Trace, but not because we forgot, just got real busy.
So we will be picking it up today with Respecting Wildlife.
The first and foremost thing to know about respecting Wildlife is that it is WILD life!!
It will hurt you, no matter how cute it is or fuzzy, or cool.
As much as we respect the mountain because it can be a dangerous place, or the river, or other situations, we need to be mindful that while most wildlife can adapt to consistant patterns of human activity, it is best to learn about wildlife through quiet observation.
That is to say…
Do not approach or follow wildlife for a “Better look”. Carry binoculars or a spotting scope or even the telephoto lens of your camera to view wildlife from observation areas and trails.
Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee.
Other things to consider:
Do not feed wildlife, or leave food for wildlife to eat after you are gone. This gets the animals to expect food. Humans become beacons for wildlife that have been fed.
Use a “Bear bag”, or container to store food in camp. Do not let the critters get into your food. They will expect it from then on, that will endanger campers that follow.
Be quiet when you expect wildlife to be around. It is their house.. be respectful.
Allow animals to have access to their natural water holes. Do not block access, or disturb water areas that have visible animal tracks.
Respecting Wildlife not only is safe, but it creates an environment that we can exist in the wilderness with wildlife. They are beautiful creatures, but if you do not give them the respect due, you can get hurt or create an environment unsafe for campers that come after you.