Addressing wildlife interference

Human behavior around wildlife, particularly foxes, on and near American Camp is appalling. Many people do indeed respect wildlife and respect federal regulations regarding wildlife viewing; unfortunately, there are many who do not.

We implore all who view wildlife to do so responsibly and in accordance with federal regulations.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR § 2.2):

The feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentional disturbing of wildlife nesting, breeding or other activities is prohibited on national park lands.

Seventy five feet is the standard National Park Service regulation for distances between humans and small- to medium-sized animals. Anything closer is considered wildlife harassment.

If an animal sees you and responds, you are too close. You must remain mobile. It is your responsibility to move away, maintain the appropriate distance, and discourage interactions.

Groups of people shall not create barriers that constrain animal movement. A group of people was photographed creating such a barrier near American Camp — a barrier that prevented a vixen from hunting so she could feed her young.

The superintendent of San Juan Island National Historical Park is empowered to increase the wildlife viewing distance, and the National Park Service is empowered to enforce regulations. San Juan Islands National Monument could extend similar protections to Bureau of Land Management lands at Cattle Pass and enforce those as well. If those agencies do not have the resources to do so, perhaps a contract with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office could be explored.

If interference with wildlife continues, there may be no other alternative.

Richard Walker

Friday Harbor