When going on a campervan rental adventure, running into wildlife is likely, and often hoped for. Nothing beats seeing a herd of Bison wandering through Yellowstone or an Elk walking around Rocky Mountain National Park. We want you to enjoy the sights of nature, but it’s important to do it safely. There have been many stories of tourists interacting with wildlife inappropriately, which resulted in either the individual or the animal being injured. To ensure both you and all wildlife stay safe on your journey, follow these guidelines:
1. Know Before You Go
This is key to visiting any national park, or outdoor recreational area is to know what kind of wildlife you may encounter. Once you’re aware of the potential inhabitants, educate yourself further. Equipping yourself with the appropriate knowledge on how to ensure your safety is essential. While the odds of dangerous encounters are slim, preparation is key, as unexpected situations can arise. Remember, you are entering their habitat. Additional resources for how to respond to any unwanted situation can be found here.
2. Give Some Space
Just as you value personal space, animals do too. Unfortunately, animals can’t express their discomfort with encroachment. Always maintain a minimum distance of 25 yards (75 feet) between you and the animal. If the animal responds to your presence, you might be too close. Enhance your nature appreciation by carrying binoculars—they offer a closer look without disturbing the wildlife.
3. Be Where You Are Suppose To Be
It’s easy to get lost in nature’s beauty, but you want to make sure you’re not actually getting lost. Never venture off the path already created. This will reduce the likelihood of any unwanted animal encounters. Avoiding any off-trail exploring is also a part of the Leave No Trace guidelines.
4. Do Not Disturb
This one is straightforward and goes along with the previous points. If you see wildlife, leave it alone. Look, appreciate, and continue on.
5. Drive Smart
Driving smart is a fundamental rule. It seems obvious, but there have been instances of speeding along national park roads resulting in collisions with animals. In places like Yosemite and Yellowstone, animals often cross the established roads. When animals like bears or buffalo get hit, it results in the animal being put down. Plus, speeding robs you of the chance to enjoy the scenery.
6. No Sharing Snacks
Thinking of your co-worker devouring your leftovers from the fridge is infuriating. Now imagine that scenario for your camping supplies. When animals stumble upon your food, they may assume that it will be perpetually accessible in that area. This behavior endangers fellow campers and disrupts animals’ natural foraging instincts. Secure your food in bear-safe containers to avoid these undesirable outcomes.
7. Watch Out
Act as a guardian of the environment. Report any inappropriate behavior towards wildlife, signs of illness ins animals, or your own encounters to park rangers. These experts are entrusted with safeguarding both your well-being and the animals’. Don’t hesitate to alert them to any concerning observations.
8. Be Smart
Ultimately, exercising good judgment. Trusting your instincts, and maintaining situational awareness. Conscientiously follow these guidelines to ensure an extraordinary campervan adventure that respects nature’s inhabitants.
By adhering to these responsible practices, you contribute to a harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife while crafting indelible memories on your journey.
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