Ethical Wildlife Viewing

Ethical Wildlife Viewing Spoonbill

At the J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR, 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 disturbance or harassment are: getting too close to, or chasing wildlife; using flash photography in close proximity to wildlife; playing recorded 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. 


*The above photo is a great example of ethical wildlife photography