Bringing Your Dog: Rules and Etiquette

Bringing Your Dog: Rules and Etiquette

Bringing your furry companion on the trail is great fun and good exercise! Make sure everything goes smoothly by following these pet friendly tips.


Safety Tips

The great outdoors are not your neighborhood dog park, but that only makes the trip more exciting! Simply follow these safety tips to ensure everything goes smoothly.

•In most national parks and recreation areas: Pets must always be kept on leash. This safeguards both your dog and others. The great outdoors can be very thrilling to our four legged companions, but dangerous as well. Keep your dog from encountering poisons, other aggressive dogs, and wild predators.
Update all vaccines and make sure you have some flea and tick control. While cases of rabies in wild populations in the US is rare, it is not unheard of. Other illnesses like lyme disease and kennel cough (tracheobronchitis) can also be picked up on the trail.
•Make sure all identification markers are up to date. In case you and your dog are separated, these can be integral to your reunification. Including your name and number on the dog’s tags and ensure that they always wear them.

Pet Friendly Spots

Luckily the National Park System has a few fantastic sites around the country that make bringing your dog practically a given. However, not all areas in the parks are open for dogs, and they usually require your animals to be on leash. Check out the a full list here.
Additionally, there are many trails governed by smaller entities that allow pets. Bring Fido and Go Pet Friendly are two useful resources that can help you find local areas for you and your dog.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S02unBjfgHA

Keeping Your Pet Safe around Wildlife

Where’s the Wildlife is committed to promoting positive, enriching experiences for all species involved. Bringing your dog on your wildlife tour can be wonderful, but we ask you keep the following rules and regulations in mind. Check out our Code of Conduct for more information!

•Never, under any circumstances, allow your pet to chase after wildlife. Not only is it bad for the ecosystems they trample on, it is both traumatizing for the animal and endangering to their survival. The energy needed to escape your pet may make the difference between survival and starvation.
•Some wild animals can act aggressively around dogs. The largest concern is actually the littlest ones such as snakes and spiders.
•Please always clean up after your dog. Due to its composition, dog waste doesn’t improve soil fertility, and can actually be detrimental to nearby streams or riparian areas.


May you and your four legged companion enjoy your wilderness adventures!

5 Wildlife Apps to Use With Ours

5 Wildlife Apps to Use With Ours

These Free Wildlife Apps are Great Companions to Where’s The Wildlife and Can Truly Enrich Your Experience

Find Your Tribe

We at Where’s the Wildlife have noticed that a love and concern for nature tends to bring people together. NatureFind is an application that helps you do just that. Want to know what your local nature groups are up to? Learn about events happening wherever you are (or plan to be)? Then this app is a great place to start. Find others that share your passion for the outdoors.

Features
•Search or add local events (get the who, when and where)
•Search or add areas of particular interest and index them by activity (including wildlife viewing!)

All About National Parks

All the information you could possibly need about US National Parks. It doesn’t use data or wifi. It’s GPS enabled. And it’s free. This app is the perfect companion to those using Where’s the Wildlife in any of our National Parks. On a time limit and trying to decide which one to go to? National Parks by Chimani gives you up to date info about what’s where and how to get there in the National Parks.

Features

  • Use up to date maps to find and navigate your local parks (requires data/wifi)
  • Get the latest news about national parks near you
  • User friendly search functions to find what you need, when you need it: fast
https://youtu.be/WwFmLRIx-GU

For the Birds

Here’s a specific one for the bird watchers out there. Aubudon Bird Guide: North America is everything you could ever wish for in a mobile field guide. The sophisticated features are impressive and while they can be a little slower in remote mountain areas (as it works using data), they are absolutely worth the wait.

Features
• Use their unique identification system to quickly find out just what you’re looking at
• Access general and migratory information about over 800 species of bird
• Admire some beautiful professional photography they’ve put up on their gallery
• Keep a list of your sightings and share them with friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67WtETnB32k

What Am I Looking At?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell one chubby rodent from another, or differentiate between species of butterflies or types of deer. Map of Life seeks to assist. This application has an ambitious goal: bringing you information about over 30,000 species from around the world. Their database is user driven and growing. While it’s still being developed to bring more and more content, we can see a lot of potential!

Features
• Identify just what you’ve seen
• Learn about species around you and where else they can be found
• Record and share about your animal sightings (syncs with www.mol.org)

https://youtu.be/XGRfR0P-ym0

Pretty Pictures

For those times the photographer in you wants to take your wildlife picture to a new level (and you can’t access your heavy duty photo editing software), Google has create an app for you. Snapseed is rapidly becoming the smartphone photographer’s best friend. With a plethora of filters, effects and corrections, it can help your photos rise to their true potential.

Features
• You don’t need to be a professional: Easy to use
• Tons of cool filters and textures to add
• Basic photo editing abilities like crop, rotate and transform
• Selective adjustment ability (for contrast, saturation, etc…)

https://youtu.be/ehfk05NytL8

Disclaimer
Where’s The Wildlife has not received any monetary or other endorsement from these applications or their parent organizations. They are on this list because they deserve to be.


Got any more app suggestions? Do you have a wildlife app you cannot live without? Share it with us here!

Gorgeous Colorado State Parks: See Wildlife

Gorgeous Colorado State Parks: See Wildlife

Colorado State Parks that should be on your bucket list.

The Colorado State Parks system boasts over forty different parks, spanning from the Great Plains to the rolling foothills, and high mountain peaks. However if wildlife sightings are your goal, there are three places you simply can’t miss.

1.) Rocky Mountain National Park

Perhaps the one of the most famous parks in the state, the Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge reserve encompassing swaths of evergreen forest, alpine tundra, and some of the tallest mountains in the lower forty-eight. With so many different eco systems, the odds are good to find all sorts of wildlife.

In lower elevations, look for the riparian (wetland) areas. These life giving creeks and lakes support dense ecosystems of different fish, toads, salamanders and more. It’s easy to conduct your entire wildlife tour here. The park covers over 400 square miles!

Area Spotlight!

The Rocky Mountain National Park is perhaps best known for the bugling of the elk. In the fall, these majestic animals descend from their alpine homes, searching for mates. In order to signal the season for love, male elk make great “roars” that echo hauntingly off the surrounding mountain sides.

Make a trip to Estes Park (in the Moraine or Horseshoe sections) and seize the chance to hear these otherworldly calls. We cannot recommend it enough!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSpGd9p17n0

2.) Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Want to try something different? Check out one of the largest urban refuges in the country (yes, we really mean urban). The park has an extensive visitor center, which offers wildlife tours and nature programs, as well as great orientation information for the site.

Area Spotlight!

For the past 14 years, a pair of endangered bald eagles has made their home by one of the lakes. In fact, it was the first sighting of our national bird that prompted the transition to a national wildlife refuge! Accompanying the eagles are more than 280 more species of birds. Be sure to bring your binoculars and telephoto lenses!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ukLp5ylw_c

3.) Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Nestled at the feet of the gorgeous Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this park looks as if some great being stole a bit of the Gobi Desert and dropped it in the middle of Colorado. However, unlike a barren desert, this park is teaming with life. Everything from the chubby American pika to the slinky mountain lion can be found in the park (though some are more easily spotted than others).

Area Spotlight!

For the photographers out there looking to shoot stunning backgrounds in their wildlife photos, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is fairly covered with them. There are five gorgeous alpine lakes, a multitude of sub alpine meadows littered with wildflowers and, of course, the iconic windswept sands of the dunes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPb2IwY9Anw

This list could surely be longer! Know any other fantastic parks to find wildlife? Want to add on to what’s here? Just say hi? Leave a comment! We always love to hear your feed back!

Wildlife Tour Preparation- 3 Easy Steps

Wildlife Tour Preparation- 3 Easy Steps

Wildlife Tour Preparation|| 3 Essential Steps to Get Ready for Your Coloradan Adventure


1.) Decide what kinds of wildlife you want to see/photograph in advance.

Colorado’s wildlife is as varied as it is magnificent. Part of the excitement of wildlife viewing is that you never know what you’ll find! However, if you still have moose babies or bugling elk on your bucket list, there are certain times and places where you may have better luck.

Do your homework and you are sure to be rewarded!

2.) Prepare for your season of travel

…as best you can. Coloradans know that it’s easy to experience the whole range of seasons in one day, sometimes in just a few hours! However bringing what you need to stay safe and comfortable will improve your trip dramatically.

Try to keep in mind the following weather-specific warnings when preparing for your wildlife tour:

Drastic Temperature Swings
These can get pretty crazy , and Colorado is infamous for them. A blistering day in Denver can easily turn utterly frigid at higher elevations. Then again, maybe not! Therefore it’s best to prepare for both: even in the summer, remember to bring a wind resistant jacket and long pants for the blustery mountain slopes.

Lightning
It’s fast. It’s furious. And it can kill you. Contrary to popular belief, getting struck isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. The US has an estimated 273 injuries and 48 deaths every year due to lighting. If your adventures take you above the tree-line, be especially vigilant. Sudden afternoon storms are common in the Rockies, and can catch wildlife viewers unaware.

If you hear thunder, it’s time to find shelter. Lighting can strike as many as ten miles away from the center of the storm. Do your research, and make sure everyone in your party knows what to do in the event of a lightning storm.

High Elevation
Especially pertinent for our out-of-state visitors, note that most of the National Parks are above 8,000 ft. elevation. Some are as many as two miles high. Prepare appropriately by bringing plenty of water and sunscreen. To avoid mountain sickness give yourself time to adjust at higher elevations, and pay attention to any symptoms of dizziness, nausea or headaches.

•For more information, check out The National Park Service safety information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtEhkfOjzMk

3.) Dust off your photography skills

Though not exactly required, we at Where’s the Wildlife highly recommend adding photography to your wildlife tour, and sharing it with us! Your contributions are what make this app possible!

•Decide what kind of camera you are willing to take on the trail. Remember that there are inherent risks to bringing an expensive piece of equipment into the great outdoors. However, there are also certain features that make specialized cameras truly intrinsic to your wildlife tour.

•Look up some simple hints and tricks if you are new to wildlife photography (or brush up on the basics if you’re more advanced).


Have any other tips for wildlife tour preparation? Leave a comment! Tell us your experiences and share your story!

The Psychological Benefits of Wildlife Viewing

The Psychological Benefits of Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is essential for well-being. Period.  It always has been and always will be.

Here are the emergent themes from all research exploring the psychological benefits of viewing wildlife:

  • Wonderment and awe beyond articulation
  • Experiencing a state of ‘flow’
  • Sensual awakening
  • Time to stand and stare
  • Voyeurism and contemplation
  • Spiritual fulfilment
  • Feeling of well-being

The natural world is an arena of endurance, tragedy and sacrifice as much as joy and uplift. It is about the struggle against the weather, the perils of migration, the ceaseless vigilance against predators, the loss of whole families and the brevity of existence. The natural world is like a theatre, a stage beyond our own, in which the dramas that are an irreducible part of being alive are played out without hatred or envy or hypocrisy. Watching wildlife can tell us much about ourselves and our own frailties. – Richard Mabey, Naturalist and Author

 

There is an ancient human need to commune with animals, plants, landscapes and wilderness.  Nature produces an emotional response of awe, wonder and privilege that unlocks ecocentric and anthropomorphic connections to wild animals and a feeling that is ‘beyond words’.  There is time to stand and stare and contemplate.  Nature and wildlife are not only spatial events but also temporal ones.  In this liminal, embodied space of a wildlife encounter, socially constructed modern fast time dissipates and is replaced by stillness and nature’s time whereby participants are totally absorbed in the spectacle.  All thought and action is concentrated on the moment.  This provokes a deep sense of well=being that transcends the initial encounter leading to spiritual fulfilment and psychological health benefits.  –  Wildlife tourism: the intangible, psychological benefits of human-wildlife encounters by Susanna Curtin, School of Services Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK Online

Most people in the world now live in relative isolation from nature and wild animals, but it doesn’t stop our human desire to be close to the wild.  Modern human relationships with the wild are complex and frequently conflicting, yet for millenniums, we have observed animal characteristics and used them to compare our own attributes.  Perhaps too frequently, we have viewed animals in an anthropomorphic way- after all, we share the basic instincts of survival.

According to research in the fields of socio-biology, ecopsychology, environmental psychology and deep ecology, there is a deep need for humans to have a relationship with the natural world for our own well-being.  Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the biophilia hypothesis that suggests that there is an instinctive bond between humans beings and other living systems.  He defines biophilia as ‘the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’.  Humans are attracted to natural environments where we feel more content and function more effectively.

The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) asserts that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature, or even looking at scenes of nature.  Directed attention plays an important role in human information processing; its fatigue, in turn, has far-reaching consequences. Attention Restoration Theory provides an analysis of the kinds of experiences that lead to recovery from such fatigue. Natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the characteristics necessary for restorative experiences. An integrative framework is proposed that places both directed attention and stress in the larger context of human-environment relationships.

Fascination is universal and is a central component of a restorative experience.  Natural settings are often the preferred destinations for extended restorative opportunities.  Most of us yearn for ‘being away’: the mountains, the seaside, rivers, lakes, forests, and meadows all call to us.  Yet for too many of us, the opportunity for ‘getting away’ is not an option.  Luckily, natural environments abound even in urban areas and offer an important resource for resting and restoration.

Stephen Kaplan, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor identifies the features of restoration in his article, The Restorative Benefits of Nature:  Toward An Integrative Framework:

Being away. Natural settings are often the preferred destinations for extended restorative opportunities. The seaside, the mountains, lakes, streams, forests, and meadows are all idyllic places for ‘getting away’. Yet for many people in the urban context, the opportunity for getting away to such destinations is not an option. However, the sense of being away does not require that the setting be distant. Natural environments that are easily accessible thus offer an important resource for resting one’s directed attention.

 

Fascination. Nature is certainly well-endowed with fascinating objects, as well as offering many processes that people find engrossing. Many of the fascinations afforded by the natural setting qualify as ‘soft’ fascinations: clouds, sunsets, snow patterns, the motion of the leaves in the breeze-these readily hold the attention, but in an undramatic fashion. Attending to these patterns is effortless, and they leave ample opportunity for thinking about other things.

 

Extent. In the distant wilderness, extent comes easily. But extent need not entail large tracts of land. Even a relatively small area can provide a sense of extent. Trails and paths can be designed so that small areas seem much larger. Miniaturization provides another device for providing a feeling of being in a whole different world, though the area is in itself not extensive. Japanese gardens sometimes combine both of these devices in giving the sense of scope as well as connectedness. Extent also functions at a more conceptual level. For example, settings that include historic artifacts can promote a sense of being connected to past eras and past environments and thus to a larger world.

 

Compatibility. The natural environment is experienced as particularly high in compatibility. It is as if there were a special resonance between the natural setting and human inclinations. For many people, functioning in the natural setting seems to require less effort than functioning in more ‘civilized’ settings, even though they have much greater familiarity with the latter (Cawte, 1967; Sacks, 1987). It is interesting to consider the many patterns of relating to the natural setting. There is the predator role (such as hunting and fishing), the locomotion role (hiking, boating), the domestication of the wild role (gardening, caring for pets), the observation of other animals (bird watching, visiting zoos), survival skills (fire building, constructing shelter), and so on. People often approach natural areas with the purposes that these patterns readily fulfill already in mind, thus increasing compatibility. A nearby, highly accessible natural environment cannot provide the context for all of these goals and purposes. Yet even such a setting is likely to be supportive of the inclinations of those who seek a respite there. Consider the factory worker, racing off during the lunch period, fighting traffic and distractions, in search of a spot in the shade of a tree for a peaceful break. If the peaceful effects were to be worn off totally by the time the return trip is made at the end of the hour, would this ritual be repeated again the next day?

 

Isn’t it time for you to be restored?  You don’t have to travel.  Sit in your backyard.  Take a walk,  Visit a park.  Watch a bird. Soak wildlife in, wherever it can be found.

"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of humanity." - George Bernard Shaw