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Island refuge asks respect for wildlife

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

To the editor:

At the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, we encourage visitors to respectfully enjoy wildlife at a safe distance. However, occasionally some visitors go to extra lengths to enhance their experience without regard to the health and safety of wildlife. This can result in the disturbance or harassment of wildlife. Disturbance or harassment of wildlife is defined as any activity that alters or changes the natural behavior of wildlife which can be detrimental to the animal’s health, safety, or productivity.

Types of activities that can cause disturbances or harassment are: getting too close to/chasing wildlife; using flash photography in close proximity to wildlife; playing recorded/cell app bird calls; cutting vegetation near a nest; feeding wildlife; or throwing objects at wildlife. Any action that results in the disturbance or harassment of wildlife on a national wildlife refuge is unethical and illegal, and can result in hefty fines or arrest. Witnesses to any of these types of violations are encouraged to report them immediately to Refuge Management at (239) 472-1100.

Remember to exercise caution when viewing, photographing, or filming wildlife for the welfare of the wildlife and for the respect of other visitors.

Paul Tritaik

Refuge manager

J.N. “Ding” Darling

National Wildlife Refuge

Sanibel Island