Keep the Wild in Wildlife
The chance of seeing wildlife in the wild is one of the most exciting things about the mountain national parks.
However, it is important to treat wild animals with the respect they deserve. Approaching them too closely threatens their survival. Also, once animals become accustomed to being around people, they are in danger of losing that very thing that makes them special their wildness.
"Kindness" Kills Wildness
Feeding or approaching animals too closely causes them to lose their natural fear of people. Once habituated', animals are likely to become increasingly aggressive. Feeding may also:
- Attract animals to roadside areas where they can be injured or killed by vehicles.
- Lead to eating garbage. Animals eat almost anything which has the smell of food.
- Affect your health. No one can predict when threats to human health due to direct contact with wildlife can occur. Known hazards include rabies and tick-related diseases.
It is illegal to feed, entice, or disturb any animal in a national park.
People searching for good photo opportunities have a special responsibility to wildlife and fellow visitors. Here's how you can help:
- Photograph wildlife from a vehicle or observation area. Don't surround, crowd or follow an animal. If you don't have a telephoto lens (at least 300 to 400 mm), show the animal in its natural surroundings, or crop and enlarge the image later.
- Don't make sounds to startle or move animals to gain a better shot.
- Never put people (especially children) at risk by posing them with wildlife.
How Close is Too Close?
We recommend you keep at least three bus lengths (30 metres/100 ft) away from large animals and about three times that distance (100 metres/325 ft) away from bears. Here are some more tips for wildlife watchers and photographers:
- Don't entice wildlife by feeding, reaching out or simulating calls (eg. elk bugling).
- Keep the animal's line of travel or escape route clear. If it approaches you, move away.
- Retreat immediately if you notice signs of aggression or any behaviour change.
- Avoid direct eye contact. Animals feel threatened by this.
- Leave nesting birds, denning animals and newborn or young animals alone.