How to Track Animals on a Wildlife Viewing Trip


Zebras at the Olpejeta Conservancy. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Many travelers are passionate about wildlife and travel long distances on safaris, hikes and visit marine parks, with the aim of enjoying wildlife, bird watching and marine animals.

These travelers will spend a lot of money to experience the thrill of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the jungle to increase your chances of spotting that animal you’ve decided to see.

Research: Before embarking on your wildlife-spotting adventure, do some research to learn more about the host species present at your destination. Also read the habits of animals, where they sleep, feed and breed, how the seasons affect them (the great migration, migrating birds, etc.), and how they interact with each other. This valuable and rewarding information comes in handy, especially when searching for an elusive creature. A little insight into the wildlife life you’re about to see gives you a basis for making an intelligent decision that could prove the difference between a sighting and a “no-show.”

Wildlife Tracking: Before setting off on a trip, find out about animal clues such as the ones they leave behind. For example, large mammals create passages in the undergrowth over time, while other animals leave more subtle signs of their presence on the ground, on or near trees, or along rivers or water points. A basic understanding of how to interpret marks left in sand or mud can be instructive.

Right time, right place: Most of us are at odds with the rhythm of the natural world, whereas in the animal world activity levels peak at dawn and dusk.

Behaviour: Your behavior when viewing wildlife matters. Rule number one is that you make sure your behavior towards wildlife does not harm them. Things to remember include not polluting the environment, following designated paths, do not feed wild animals.

Keep your distance: Do not interfere with their natural behavior at any time. Adhere to the principles of “leave no trace”.


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