“It looks friendly” is not a reason to try to get close to a wild animal.
A video posted on TikTok by babybat_pnw (@babybat_pnw) has caused some debate on the platform, with the footage showing tourists at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington approaching one of the marmots that calls the reserve home.
@babybat_pnw Paradise meadows at Mount Rainier National Park 🌲 #mountrainiernationalpark #pnw #washingtonstate #mrnp #pnwlife #cascades #hiking #adventure #pnwonderland #washington #wildlife #marmots #mtrainier #cascademountains #skylinetrail #explore #leavenotrace #paradise #paradisewashington #animals #washingtoncheck #pnwcheck #outdoors #nature #mountains #trails #volcano #tahoma #hike #pnwadventures #pnwsummer #hiker #goexplore #travelbucketlist #pnwexplored ♬ original sound – babybat_pnw
While some TikTokers were delighted by the sight of an adorable animal up close, most were worried about the fact the tourists had encouraged the rodent to approach them as they filmed.
“Are they dangerous?” a person in the background can be heard saying as the camera gets closer and closer to the creature.
Even with that seed of doubt, the tourist began clicking to get the marmot’s attention, even asking the animal, “Are you going to bite us?”
The top comment on the video has garnered over 100 likes, suggesting that many users agree with the sentiments and condemn the actions of the misguided tourist.
“Just to be clear, any wild animal is in fact dangerous,” the TikToker said. “No matter how cute and cuddly they seem to be.”
“Well yes I agree… we know that,” replied babybat_pnw. “All wildlife can be dangerous.”
That response makes the video footage even more confusing. Despite appearing to understand that there is a serious risk when approaching wild animals, they continued to do something that put themselves — and the marmot — at risk of harm.
“Please please give wildlife more room than this,” another TikTok user pleaded. “Please do NOT approach them or feed them!!”
Indeed, trying to get close to or feed wild animals can reduce their natural fear instincts, making them more susceptible to predators.
Wildlife expert John Griff posted his own video to TikTok explaining why homeowners should avoid feeding wildlife in their neighborhood, and the advice applies to creatures in national parks, too.
“When a wild animal loses its fear of humans, it rarely ever ends well,” he said.
Even if an animal “looks friendly,” the best thing you can do is allow them the space and peace they deserve.
Respect for the environment is crucial at nature reserves like Mount Rainier National Park, and cautiously observing rather than encroaching on animals for the sake of a few social media likes is the best way to interact with wildlife.
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