Staying Safe in the Wild: Wildlife Safety

Posted on July 26, 2017 by kerri

two brown bears swimming looking at each other

Did you know July 29 is International Tiger Day? We know our customers are often adventurous sorts, and today, we’ll share some tips for staying safe in the wild—even if there are no tigers where you live! It’s always fun to get out and explore nature, whether that’s geocaching, checking out some in-the-city forests and parks, or getting out in the backcountry for some exploring. We’re hoping you already have your medical ID bracelet or necklace ready for your adventures—but if you don’t, one of our canvas medical ID sports bands might be a good idea, as it’ll make sure you keep moving unrestricted by getting caught on branches!

As always, it is a good idea to ensure someone knows where you are going, and when you will be back. With technology available, remember, that if you fall into a cell phone “dead zone”, your phone GPS and features like Find My Friends—for people awaiting your return home or to your base—may be unusable. Carrying a standalone GPS device to help you find your way can be a good option in situations like this, as they are powered by satellites and not subject to the same signal failures as cellular phones are.

A few weeks ago, we were driving through a Provincial Park, when a deer started running not just across the road, but in a zig-zag pattern down the road in the same direction we were traveling. This deer looked young, and was likely stunned by something. After a few (long!) moments, it scurried back into the forested area from which it had come, although a kilometer (three-quarters of a mile) or so away. While no one was hurt, this is just one illustration of how unpredictable wildlife can be—whether you are inside your vehicle or out, keep your eyes open for animals big and small on the road ahead! I have heard of many people accidentally hitting wildlife, such as deer, with their vehicles when they unexpectedly dart out in front of cars—something to keep in mind even before getting to your destination!

If you are exploring—hiking, camping, cycling, or geocaching, to name a few!—staying alert is important. If you are in heavily forested, traffic-devoid areas, consider leaving the earphones at home to hear your surroundings. Or, to quote Parks Canada, “Use official trails only and leave the wild trails to wildlife!” [1]

Know what to do if you are approached by a bear or other large animal. While most wildlife will run from humans, some animals like foxes may become surprisingly tame if they have been fed in the past by humans—we had one such fox in our yard at the cabin a few weeks ago! While cute, these animals can be unpredictable: do not feed them. Abstaining from feeding animals can keep you and others safe by not teaching animals to associate humans with getting their next meal! Feeding animals can also decondition them to being able to find their own food—becoming reliant on human-feedings can in the long run harm and kill bears. Most wild animal encounters we hear of are with bears. As they are lengthy to recap here, if you frequent National, State or Provincial Parks, brushing up on what to do if you encounter a bear, reading Parks Canada’s Safe Travel in Bear Country can help you brush up on how to stay safe!

As always, if you have a medical condition, that doesn’t have to stop you from getting out and having adventures. Ensure you have medical supplies with you—and, proactively, consider carrying enough to last you a night or two in case the unexpected happens! If you have diabetes, carrying more glucose than you anticipate need for, and glucagon, may fall into this category. As well, wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace matters, even when you’re not expecting to encounter any humans—be prepared for the unexpected: our durable, stainless steel medical ID products are well suited to the outdoors, and will outlast the elements—just like you!

We hope your only experience with wildlife—for International Tiger Day and every other day!—is to enjoy it from afar.

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