Presumably every nature TV host has had that one early experience with nature that ends up shaping their career – the thrill of first glimpsing a rare species perhaps, or interacting with a wild animal for the first time. For Casey Anderson, host of National Geographic's 'America the Wild' and Kinect Nat Geo TV (an eight-episode series of interactive shows for the Xbox 360), it was a little more intense. While working at one of his first jobs at a Montana wildlife preserve, Anderson tried to intervene in a fight between wolves. He was then attacked by the entire pack, but was able to narrowly escape thanks to thick coveralls. "I'm standing there in what are now Carhartt Daisy Dukes, and I had to get right back on the horse," he recalls. "Now I look back and realize I had done everything wrong. This was my dream job and I nearly got killed." Thankfully, Anderson is still alive and well and able to tell us what to do when you bump into a mountain lion, why playing dead can get you killed, and why you should never try to win a shootout with a bear. Launch Gallery >>
Keep your distance.
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."
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