Leave No Trace Principles
Respect Wildlife - the basics:
· Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow
or approach them.
· Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health,
alters natural behaviors,
and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
· Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and
· Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
· Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting,
raising young, or winter.
Respect Wildlife - details:
Learn about wildlife through quiet
observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a "better
look". Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared
or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the
environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small.
If you have a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible
to minimize your impacts.
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 likes or streams is OK in most instances
but in desert areas, leave scarce water holes undisturbed and
unpolluted so animals may drink from them.