If you spot a wild animal, the desire to approach and interact with it is perfectly understandable. It's also completely stupid and irresponsible. "Never approach any animal in the wild," Anderson says. "As a human moving through their world, they look at you as a threat no matter your intentions, and so you can trigger their fight-or-flight response." The problem is that no matter how tame that deer at Yosemite or bison at Yellowstone may seem, they're still wild at heart and will react to cues you give off that you may not even realize. Instead, carry a pair of binoculars to observe them in their natural environment and give them some distance: 25 meters for big game, and at least 100 meters (or ideally much more) for predators like bears and wolves. "Every year you read stories about someone thinking bears are like teddy bears, or they put their kid on the back of a bison to get a picture taken," Anderson says. "And every year, someone gets injured or killed."
Credit: Mark Newman / Getty Images
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