How to observe Quebec's wildlife in an ethical way? Chalets à Rabais

How to observe Quebec’s wildlife in an ethical way?

In Quebec or elsewhere, encounters with wildlife are exhilarating and have the power to be also educational. However, these can also unfortunately destroy their habitat and even cause some species to change their behavior. Since the number of amateur observers increases every year – even in Quebec – it is more important than ever to act responsibly and sustainably. Your getaway or hike may also have the potential to support conservation and promote good wildlife management.

Find out about accommodation practices before booking: Prioritize cabins that follow clear and responsible safety protocols regarding cohabitation with wildlife, if applicable.

Regardless of accommodation in kind, hide your food.

Do not feed wildlife: Avoid feeding animals in a way that does not make them vulnerable or dependent on humans. Feeding them could not only develop aggressive behavior, but also modify their reproduction and migration pattern.

Keep a respectful distance between yourself and animals that you come across.

Don’t Interfere With Mating and Predation: While it may all seem interesting or mysterious, it’s best not to interact with wildlife during these critical survival times.

Wear dark clothes and not to wear perfumes on walks where it would be conducive to encounter the local fauna.

Preserve habitat by following the principles of Leave No Trace.

Try to visit animals in their natural habitat: It is undoubtedly better to see them in the middle of nature to better understand their behavior. Kayak whale watching and snorkeling, if done respectfully, are great ways to view wildlife.

Choose guided tours that emphasize education, follow clear safety protocols and never allow handling wildlife: If you do not know the place, it is recommended or at least interesting to hire a guide experienced naturalist, often offered in national parks. In addition to looking for animals, he will be able to find tracks of animals, bizarre insects or colorful birds.

Leave the animals to their natural routine: Do not encourage hidden animal abuse and do not encourage circus performances. In many cases, animals that must perform are housed in small, sterile cages, trained with painful punishments, and kept in high stress situations.

Follow the rules established by national parks: Take the time to consult the guidelines in order to act responsibly. For example, it is to observe wildlife at the indicated times of the day.

Avoid close contact and selfies with wildlife: Keeping your hands away from wildlife is always in the best interest of the latter and do not encourage facilities that offer close experiences with wildlife or allow taking pictures with them. However, some scientific research projects are worth encouraging. You have to be well informed.

Keeping an Eye on Baby Animals: The connection between parents and their litter of cubs is very meaningful and can easily be disrupted, especially in the early days. It can also be dangerous for someone who gets between a mother and her young.

Minimize noise: Silence your cell phone, speak in a low voice and turn off camera sounds. Large crowds and artificial noises cause distress in animals.

Support conservation projects: In this age of greenwashing, it is essential to do your research to ensure that the rehabilitation centers to visit are functioning in the true sense of the word. Find out if there is a naturalist, ecologist or scientist, through certain conservation programs to meet. Also consider other ways to support their work than a visit, for example by donation. Keep in mind that sanctuaries that offer the best care and levels of animal welfare do not normally allow direct contact with wildlife.

While these guidelines may seem restrictive, nothing elevates a wildlife viewing experience more than knowing that the animals involved are so comfortable and safe around humans. Following these tips can help avoid disturbing their balance or as little as possible!

This article was, among other things, inspired by Responsible Travel, National Geographic, WWF, David Sheldrick Trust, Born Free, Manta Trust et World Animal Protection and adapted for viewing wildlife in Quebec.

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