Saturday, January 05, 2008

Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines
As you venture out to enjoy some time at the shoreline, please keep these viewing guidelines in mind if you encounter any wildlife. The following list is from NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Ocean Etiquette page (excerpts below were also taken from the print publication "National Marine Sanctuaries of the West Coast"):

1. Learn before you go. Learn more about the wildlife you may encounter before your visit.
2. Keep your distance. Getting too close to animals can be harmful both to them and to you.
3. Hands off. Not only is it often illegal touch protected species, it can also injure either you or the animal.
4. Do not feed or attract marine wildlife. Feeding or attempting to attract wildlife may harm animals by causing sickness, death and habituation to people.
5. Never chase or harass wildlife. Never surround, trap or separate animals.
6. Stay away from wildlife that appears abandoned or sick. Animals that appear sick may not be. They may just be resting or awaiting the return of a parent. If you think an animal is sick or injured, contact the local authorities.
7. Wildlife and pets don't mix. Keep pets leashed and away from marine wildlife.
8. Lend a hand with trash removal. Carry a trash bag with you and pick up litter. Garbage and fishing debris pose significant threats to marine wildlife.
9. Help others become responsible wildlife watchers and tour operators. Lead by example and support businesses that follow proper guidelines.