Florida Nature Photography Tips
How to Approach Wild Animals
Once you find them,
you don't want to scare them away
How To Approach Wild Animals
It's rewarding to have close up views
of animals, but it’s easy for even the most responsible wildlife
watchers to inadvertently put themselves, or the animals they seek,
at risk. Keep the following tips in mind as you venture out into Florida’s
natural areas, especially for wildlife photography.
Every animal differs in how close it will allow you to approach
before it pauses in its feeding, nesting or resting activities, or flees
altogether. Such disturbances can be disastrous for animals,
especially the cumulative effect of frequent disruptions, a common occurrence
at beaches, waterways and other busy wildlife viewing sites.
an animal uses up valuable energy reserves that are no longer
available for other uses, such as migrating, tending to young, mating
or escaping predators. A fleeing parent may abandon a nest and risk
exposing eggs or young to temperature extremes or predators.
How to tell if you’re too close? Look for the
obvious: Has the animal stopped feeding? Is it looking at you? Does
it appear aggressive or skittish? Did the animal begin to move away
or fly into the air? Is it dive-bombing you or circling overhead? Do
you see distraction displays such as a bird exhibiting a “broken
wing?” These behaviors are all progressive signs of disturbance.
If you see any of these signs: Move away immediately.
When possible, use binoculars or zoom lenses to extend your view. If
an adult animal allows you to approach, something’s wrong. It
may be sick, injured or aggressive. If you’re suspicious, contact
the local site manager.
Respect private property boundaries, even if the animal you
are following does not. Obey posted signs near nesting areas and stay
on roads, trails and paths to minimize habitat disturbance.
Don't feed wild animals. Fed animals may abandon their
natural, healthy diet, become dependent on human food and lose their
fear of humans. Such animals can become aggressive or dangerous or may
risk crossing busy roads to venture close to human habitations. Report
people who attract wild dolphins or sharks by feeding them. As of Jan
1, 2002, they’re breaking the law. You can call our Wildlife Alert
toll free number 1-888-404-FWCC
Young animals are rarely abandoned by their parents.
If you find one that looks helpless, there’s a good chance that
the parents are nearby, waiting until you leave before they return.
The longer you stay, the longer the youngster must go without food and
the greater the risk that it will be spotted by a predator.
Keep your pets at home. They may frighten or harm the
wildlife you are seeking and many sites prohibit them altogether. It
is against Florida law for you or your pets to chase, harass or harm
Provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
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