Ethical Wildlife Watching

Watching animals in their natural environments can be, in our opinion, some of the most rewarding experiences you can have. However, if we want to maintain that experience for future generations and to protect these animals we need to show them respect and try to have as little impact as we can on their lives, habitats and behaviours.

How can I view wildlife ethically?

  1. First, think about where you’re going and if you’re going on some sort of tour do some research on the company, their ethics and the places they visit. We think the best places to see wildlife is in National Parks and government owned nature reserves as they are not run as commercial operations. They also offer sightings of animals in their natural environments. You may get a better view or increased likelihood of seeing something in a private reserve or park, but is this their natural environment? The experience is all and we’d take quality over quantity any time.
  2. Do some research about the places you visit, just because somewhere promotes themselves as a “sanctuary” it does not mean that they are. I would especially ask that you do some research into any reserve that promotes experiences where you can handle or “walk-with” animals such as big cats before they visit. Particularly if they say that they are planning on releasing these animals into the wild, as often they do not or can not do this. Become aware of the issues, is a good place to start.
  3. Have respect for the animal. Keep your distance, you don’t want to change their behaviour, you want to see them doing what they would normally do in the places they would normally do it. By getting too close, you may seem threatening.
  4. Do not chase the animals, if they are running away from you, it means that they may feel threatened and chasing them may put them under more stress.
  5. Keep quiet and stay in small groups.
  6. Do not do any damage to the environment. If there are trails or tracks, stick to those, don’t go making your own paths and try not to trample plants and other vegetation.
  7. Do not leave litter. Pick up any rubbish that you’ve left behind and ideally pick up other peoples litter that you might come across.
  8. Do not feed the animals.
  9. Do not feed the animals.
  10. Do not feed the animals.