Leave No Trace Principle 6: Respect Wildlife
Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Travel quietly and do not pursue, feed or force animals to flee. (One exception is in bear country where it is good to make a little noise so as not to startle the bears) In hot or cold weather, disturbance can affect an animals ability to withstand the rigorous environment. Do not touch, get close to, feed or pick up wild animals. It is stressful to the animal, and it is possible that the animal may harbor rabies or other diseases. Sick or wounded animals can bite, peck or scratch and send you to the hospital. Young animals removed or touched by well-meaning people may cause the animals parents to abandon them. If you find sick animals or animal in trouble, notify a game warden.
Considerate campers observe wildlife from afar, give animals a wide berth, store food securely, and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals. Remember that you are a visitor to their home.
Allow animals free access to water sources by giving them the buffer space they need to feel secure. Ideally, camps should be located 200 feet or more from existing water sources. This will minimize disturbance to wildlife and ensure that animals have access to their precious drinking water. By avoiding water holes at night, you will be less likely to frighten animals because desert dwellers are usually most active after dark. With limited water in arid lands, desert travelers must strive to reduce their impact on the animals struggling for survival.
Washing and human waste disposal must be done carefully so the environment is not polluted, and animals and aquatic life are not injured. Swimming in lakes or streams is OK in most instances but in desert areas, leave scarce water holes undisturbed and unpolluted so animals may drink from them.
- * Secure trash in bear-proof cans and don’t wheel them out until collection day morning.
- * Don’t leave trash, groceries or animal feed in your car.
- * Harvest ripe fruit off trees and promptly collect fallen fruit.
- * Do not use bird-feeders.
- * Keep barbecue grills clean and stored when not in use.
- * Don’t leave any scented products outside (i.e. suntan lotion or candles).
- * Keep doors and windows closed and locked.
- * Install motion-activated alarms, sprinklers and/or electric fencing.
- * Landscape with deer-resistant plants and install high fencing around gardens.
- * Secure livestock in sturdy enclosures.
- * Do not leave small children or pets unattended outdoors.
- * Keep pet food and water dishes indoors.