Surprised by a seal pupMagazinePosted on November 11, 2015 by Ben Dolphin Ben DolphinAs both a wildlife enthusiast and snap-happy photographer I confess I have an innate desire of wanting to get as close to wildlife as possible. Or more accurately, as close as wildlife will allow me to get.I’m certainly not alone in wanting to do so either. How many of us have tried creeping up on a butterfly or have gone to a pond in search of tadpoles? How many of us have simply tried to edge closer to a hare, ptarmigan, golden plover or some either iconic species out on the hill, only to fail miserably as it scurries or flies away?Getting close can require patience and time, but by doing so you can see the markings, physiology and behaviour of a creature in unrivalled detail. More than that, the encounter might turn into a genuinely uplifting and moving experience. For me it’s those personal interactions, those intimate moments that transform the natural world from being merely a beautiful backdrop to our daily routines, into something much more involving, extraordinary and precious.One of those extraordinary, intimate and precious momentsOne of those extraordinary, intimate and precious momentsBut to what extent do we consider the impact our curiosity has? It’s something we should actively think about because there’s a balance to be struck between satisfying that curiosity and disturbing the wildlife that we’re so in awe of.Consider nesting birds, for example. Inadvertently scaring the parents off the nest could result in their chicks going hungry or cold, being left unprotected when a predator comes knocking or, at worst, being abandoned completely. Golden eagles are especially prone to disturbance these days on account of the number of curious tourists who accidentally stumble upon (and then approach) nesting sites.

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