Here's How To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist

We've got a few tips to help you be a considerate traveller the next time you go out in the jungles for a safari
Spotted deers in their natural habitat
Spotted deers in their natural habitat

Travellers and visitors have always been drawn to wildlife tourism. Tourists can interact with various animals on safaris, excursions and even while swimming in the water. But does this always work out well

During these adventures, visitors usually need more regard for the needs of animals and their environment, often interfering with their natural state. Being a responsible traveller means having positive wildlife experiences that don't hurt the animals or promote their captivity. Here are some ideas for responsible wildlife experiences so you can be prepared the next time you go on a safari, shared by some of the best naturalists in the country.

Maintain Safe Distance

Proximity to wold animals should be avoided on safari
Proximity to wold animals should be avoided on safariShutterstock

Maintaining a safe distance and avoiding their pathways is the cardinal rule while engaging with animals. Pay attention to the caution notices typically posted about how close you can approach wild creatures. "Always remember that no matter how big or small the animal is, you should never come close to it", says Gaurav Dhotre, Naturalist with Pugdundee Safaris. You can observe them safely while keeping yourself and the animal safe.

Avoid excessive light while driving at night since this annoys wildlife. Some animals can become temporarily blinded by bright lights. Never taunt or corner wild animals since their natural reaction can be to attack you.

Don't Call Out 

People calling out, cooing, or whistling at wild animals to get their attention has become standard practice. These animals usually engage in some activity or are just resting. Thus sudden noises greatly irritate them. "Remember that you have entered their turf and cannot compel them to respond for amusement", says Alwyn D'souza, Naturalist at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. Let the animal select how much interaction they want with you to have.

Leave The Mother And Its Young One Alone

Nilgiri Tahr with a fawn
Nilgiri Tahr with a fawnGetty Images

If you discover that you're unintentionally coming in between a child and its mother, take a quick step back. "Animals who perceive a threat to their young become exceedingly violent", says Yashwant Singh of Untamed Bandhavgarh. If you see a little animal's parent nearby, avoid forcing yourself into space with them because things can get out of hand. 

Don't Leave Behind Waste

Tourists are infamous when out in the woods for leaving tons of trash. There is a lot of deliberate littering and open disposal of plastic waste. We must commit to protecting the environment more carefully. All the garbage can severely harm the ecosystem of an animal's natural habitat we leave behind. "The critters might seriously hurt themselves if they consume the trash left behind, we must be mindful of what we leave behind in their habitat", says Erwin D'Rose, Head Naturalist at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge.

Don't Feed Them

The langur is commonly seen on roadsides waiting for tourists to drop food
The langur is commonly seen on roadsides waiting for tourists to drop foodShutterstock

Any food you give to wildlife has the potential to hurt them and have a significant impact on their diets. "Do not give them any of the food you are eating, no matter how long they stare at it", says Imran Khan, Naturalist at Saj In The Forest in Pench. In fact, it is better to hide your food when you are out observing nature. 

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