You may have seen your fair share of wildlife documentaries on TV channels. You may have also seen, and shared, many viral “animals gone wild” videos on your social channels. But watching a thunderous lion on your screen is different than coming face to face with one on a safari tour. You may mock one as much as you want from the boundaries of your phone screen. But the moment you dare to try the same in front of a real one, you are asking to be treated like a piece of giant steak. Wildlife is well…. wild. You have no control over them. The predators don’t give a stick about you and the prey just pray you don’t disturb them.
Do not try to act smart when wild animals are roaming around you. When people book wilderness lodges in secluded areas to experience nature in its raw form, they don’t consider the possibilities of danger arising out of such experiences. You are in the middle of a forest, surrounded by all kinds of wild animals and plants, and maybe, without any sight of hospitals for miles. When you are at their turf, you better be careful.
Being careful does not mean you should go out and order a custom armored suit for you and your friends. Steel armor, assault rifles, tanks can be left at home if you just want to watch some Tasmanian Devils devouring a piece of meat. All you’ve got to do act smartly, and put some common sense into practice, be in control of your nerves and don’t do anything stupid. Here are tips that would help you to be safe near wild animals on your next wildlife safari trip –
Give them Space
There’s one single rule about wildlife tours that you should never forget. Do not intrude the animal’s comfort zone. Stay back at a safe distance. 100 yards is the minimum safe distance for bigger and faster animals and 50 yards is okay for smaller ones. You don’t want to take many risks. The size of most animals can be deceptive. They will always outrun you when it will come to a chase.
On the Experts, You Should Trust
There’s a reason why they are called experts. Always listen to the ranger or guide that you have. Follow his instructions and trail like a pet does. Never lose sight of him and always do what he says
If you are on a vehicle, do not step out of it until the guide instructs it. If there is a warning sign then adhere to it. A jungle with wild animals is not a place to test your courage and hone your map making skills.
Get To Know About the Surroundings
Before moving out of your camp or lodge, make sure you have all the details of the area you are about to visit. Learn about the routes, safe zones, restricted zones, and exits before stepping out. And not just routes, you should also learn about the types of animals you may encounter, the local insect conditions, the lovely but fatal plant life and all other information that you can digest.
You can find such information from the residential experts or online. Tourism ministries and other agencies often have such information on their website. Get info about the nearest help centers and also learn how to reach them in case of an emergency.
Have Your Pets and Children Close to You
That koala may make up for an excellent selfie but don’t forget about your 3-year-old son who is being strangled by that freaking kangaroo. If we had to put children and wild animals on a scale of unpredictability then they would win the same scores. You cannot trust any of them. While you control that kangaroo, you can surely control your child.
Similarly, you should have your pets under control. You should leave them back at home if it is possible. If not then don’t let them hop around and make a scene, leash him if possible.
Keep It Discreet
In most cases, having a low profile and minding your own business is better than anything else. For example, blasting your favorite Taylor Swift song on a Bluetooth speaker while trekking through a bear territory is not the smartest move. Maybe, the bear is a country guy, you never know. Respect their music tastes.