Experiencing unfamiliar and rare animals is one of the most fulfilling adventures we can embark on during our travels. It's becoming more widely acknowledged that we need to be conscious of the impact our actions can have on wildlife. Whether we're exploring a national park or embarking on an exciting safari, it's our duty to ensure that our encounters with local wildlife are conducted in an ethical manner. Here are some guidelines on how to pay proper respect to indigenous fauna while traveling. Let's get to it!
Wildlife wanderlust: how to travel with respect and responsibility?
1. Maintain a sufficient distance from wild animals for safety
In our culture fixated on selfies and social media, it's easy to become too engrossed in the moment when we encounter an opportunity to capture an incredible wildlife photograph. However, national park authorities have valid reasons for requesting that we maintain a safe distance. It's crucial to understand that animals can quickly become agitated or fearful if startled or worried about the safety of their young. Therefore, it's advisable to stay two bus lengths away from harmless animals like deer, and at least double that distance from more dangerous creatures, such as bison or bears. If capturing a close-up shot is truly essential, it would be wise to bring along a zoom lens.
2. Be conscious of the places where you dispose of your food and garbage
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Bears are notorious for their bold actions when it comes to stealing food. To them, food encompasses anything with a scent, including soap, cosmetics, toiletries, trash, and even unwashed utensils. When visiting places like Yosemite, it's important to follow the advice of park rangers and properly store your belongings in bear-proof lockers rather than keeping them in your vehicle. Additionally, remember to thoroughly clean your car of crumbs, wet wipes, and food wrappers, as these can be enticing enough for a bear to break into your vehicle. It's crucial to be mindful of our actions so as not to contribute to the categorization of animals as dangerous to humans, which could ultimately result in authorities resorting to shooting them.
3. Keep your dog restrained with a leash
Not all people adore dogs, but that should not be the primary reason for keeping a dog on a short leash in authorized areas of national parks. The presence of unfamiliar smells and sounds can easily divert the attention of even the most composed and well-trained dogs. Additionally, the scent of a dog can instill fear in smaller animals, leading them to hide in their holes for prolonged periods instead of venturing out to eat. Moreover, if your pet lacks updated vaccinations, it can potentially transmit diseases to the wildlife in the park.
4. Avoid participating in activities that involve interacting with elephants
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In the past, people were unaware of the consequences of riding elephants, but now there is a growing awareness. To make an elephant tolerate carrying a seat, it may have been subjected to cruel treatment. Before supporting elephant sanctuaries, it's important to ensure that they prioritize animal welfare. The use of hooks, for instance, should raise concerns. If you plan to give an elephant a bath, make sure the time spent interacting with it's limited, and that the elephant has plenty of time away from people.
5. Prioritize the well-being of animals before engaging in rides
When the terrain is rugged, it may be tempting to ride on the back of a horse or mule. However, if you decide to do so, it's crucial to ensure that these animals are properly taken care of. This means providing them with enough water, shade, food, and rest throughout the day, especially in extreme temperatures. The same consideration should apply to carriage ride operators. It's advisable to research and inquire about their practices, and if you are unsatisfied with the answers, opting for a walking tour would be a better choice.
6. Select dolphin or whale watching tours that prioritize responsible practices
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Dolphin and whale watching tours should be approached with care as well. If encounters are guaranteed, it's possible that these marine creatures have been lured with food, affecting their natural feeding habits and potentially exposing them to diseases. Swimming with dolphins can also cause stress for the animals, especially in shallow lagoons where they seek rest. It's recommended to choose a responsible boat tour operator, or better yet, observe from the shore if possible.
7. Engage in swimming and snorkeling activities with a sense of responsibility
Engaging in the simple act of touching a coral reef out of curiosity can ultimately result in its death and harm the marine creatures that rely on it for survival. The oils present on our skin, particularly those from sunscreen, can have negative effects on coral. Hawaii has recently introduced a law prohibiting the use of oxybenzone and octinoxate, substances believed to contribute to coral bleaching, which will take effect in 2021. It's also advisable to steer clear of sunscreen containing titanium dioxide, as it reacts with warm seawater, producing harmful hydrogen peroxide.
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Have you ever heard something about off-site parking? If not, we recommend you take a closer look at this part of the article, as this information will be handy for those who prefer to travel by air and get to the airport by their own car.
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How does it work?
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Obviously, people who chose a car as a way to get to the airport want to leave their vehicle safely while traveling and not to face the problems we described above. So what can off-site airport parking offer its customers?
Although a few miles usually separate such parking from the airport, you shouldn't worry about this. Off-site parking provides free shuttles going back and forth between the parking lot and the airport. Thanks to this, it removes any worries about getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport during peak times. So all you need to do is choose the best time for you and inform the parking lot staff.
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