How Close Is Too Close To Wildlife?

Sep 15, 2020

In recent weeks curious but misguided wildlife watchers and national parks have unfortunate encounters with wildlife. The Wildlife watchers were using their smartphones to video and photograph wildlife.

Adult bison can weigh in at 2000 pounds and run at 35 miles an hour. The National Park Service recommends that visitors stay at least 25 yards away from animals. Despite these warnings, wildlife watchers have gotten too close to bison this summer in our national parks.

Although the dangers of human wildlife close encounters are well documented, humans seem unable to resist the temptation to touch wildlife. In the case of watching wildlife the rise of the smartphone capturing those moments of connection has never been easier. Many are anxious to snap a shot of themselves up close and personal with the kinds of animals we've only seen in the zoo or on TV.

Not understanding wild animal behavior coupled with an animal ability to judge what constitutes a safe distance when using our smartphones can be a recipe for disaster. A recent paper in Human Wildlife Interactions, a journal published by the Berryman Institute at Utah State University provided new insights on the relationship between distance related human- bison interactions and smartphones.

Results indicated that people who always use the smartphone camera felt it was more acceptable to stand closer device and then people who never used a smartphone camera. To read more, visit https://berrymaninstitute.org