Photo by Amareta Kelly.
For you lazy people, zoos are all a person need if they want to go and see animals. However what some people might fail to take into account is that in zoos animals are often kept captive in cages, and they are often out of their habitat, meaning that their routine is greatly altered.
There are some more ethically correct and exciting ways to observe wildlife, so here are a few.
Learn About What You Are Going to Observe
You might think this is counterintuitive. After all, you are going out to watch animals in action, not to read about them.
However learning about an animal’s habits can give you a head start – you’ll know where to look and when to look. Even if you know their normal behaviour, you are still bound to see something new.
For example, giant anteaters are typically day time animals, however some were found wondering around overnight in South America. Not only that, one of them was even filmed while climbing up a tree by Gordon Buchanan, something which was unheard of for such an animal!
Once you find something, try to compare behaviours with other animals. For example what does a female do differently from a male? What are the differences between this zebra you are looking at and a horse?
Other questions you should ask yourself are: where is the animal and what objects is it interested in? What other objects if placed near the animal could prompt it behave differently? How is it interacting with the same species as well as other species, such as prey or predators for example?
Observe the animal for as long as you can, you might not get the same opportunity twice.
Get the Right Equipment
You want to make sure you don’t disturb the wildlife while you observe it. If not, animals might run away or even attack you.
For example there was an observer in the recent BBC miniseries, The Dark: Natures Nighttime World who decided it was a good idea to place a small camouflaged tent on the beach where she was going to observe jaguars overnight.
Of course what she didn’t think about was the fact that the jaguar might actually get close enough to detect her scent and attack! The feline did in fact get close, but she was lucky enough not to get detected and survived.
If you are planning to photograph or capture wildlife on film, make sure you have the right equipment with you. For example, if you want to observe animals overnight a normal camera with flash won’t do it for two reasons:
1. You need to be close enough for the flash to produce enough light.
2. The flash will alert the animals you are observing, causing them to run away or towards you (remember that jaguar?)
A wildlife infrared camera is your best bet in this case.
Live observation is a lot more exciting than going to a zoo. It takes some patience to wait for the right moment and the right animal, but it’s also more satisfying once you get what you wanted – with possibly some unexpected behaviours thrown in as well!
Have you had any experience observing wildlife?
Estelle Page is an interior designer with a love for nature. When she isn’t busy working she is often blogging for fly on the wall UK, indulging in her wildlife photography hobby.