Wildlife safety tips for runners

Picture of a runner on a trail
A runner travels down a forest path.
Photo by Raul_Mellado / Getty Images

Running is a fabulous way to stay healthy, explore nature, and have a good time. Staying safe on the trail, track, or road includes being mindful of the ecosystems we’re in – and how to respect the animals whose homes we may be running through. Here’s a few tips that can help keep everyone safe while enjoying the outdoors!

1 Get to know the area first. Who doesn’t love exploring a new area by going on a run? While that’s a great way to get to know the trails and lay of the land, spend a bit of time doing research to find out what wildlife lives locally, when they’re most active, how to respond if you encounter them, and any extra supplies you may need to take. This is also a great way to make sure that you’re able to honour trail closures or seasonal detours.

2 Keep your ears and eyes open. Music and sun protection are often vital parts of a run – but anything that blocks your ability to hear or see what’s around you can be dangerous. Keep one ear free of in-ear or over-ear headphones and ensure you’re able to see fully around you while wearing sunglasses or hats.

3 Make some noise! Most wildlife wants to avoid people and go out of their way to do so. But runners can surprise animals in nature – so make a bit of noise! Talking out loud is one of the best ways to let nearby wildlife know you’re approaching and avoid a surprise.

4 Run in groups. Whenever possible, running in a group is not only safer, but can really improve your run quality by giving you motivation, help with form, and bring a joyful, social experience into your runs. Typically, wildlife are less likely to approach a group of people, too!

5 Appreciate wildlife – from a distance. If you do encounter animals, never try to feed or approach them. Enjoy the sighting and wait for them to move along or use the appropriate response to encourage them to do so.

Running is a great way to connect with nature – and when we do it respectfully, it can be safe, enjoyable, and beneficial for everyone in the community.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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