In the country there are still areas that are sparsely populated and whole regions are empty, with displaced populations. The mountains are rich in forests and wide meadows. Forests, meadows and mountains are the home of numerous animals. Meeting at least one large animal while hiking is inevitable. There are lots of false and incomplete information about the dangers of meeting wild animals. In reality, Macedonian fauna comprises many endangered species, species that are not aggressive and very little poisonous animals, such as snakes and spiders. These are some of the basic rules on how to treat wildlife when we next go outdoors.
- Educate yourselves!
Knowledge is the best medicine and weapon against all fears and unknowns. Use your free time to learn about Macedonian flora and fauna. That way you will know more about the ecology of animals, the places where you could meet them, their habitats, as well as the possibility to identify their tracks and footprints. This will only enrich your walks outdoors.
- Never leave food behind and do not feed animals
If you have the opportunity to meet an animal, do not feed it and do not leave food behind. This means that you should never leave or throw food behind anytime you are outdoors. Human food is not suitable for wild animals and it might even contain pathogens which are dangerous for animals.
- Walk Your Dogs on a Leash
Many people want to enjoy nature together with their pets. Whenever you go to a forest or a protected area, keep your dog near and always on a leash. This is for yours and your pet’s safety, as well as for the health of forest dwellers. Dogs might attack a wild animal or be scared by them.
- Do not capture and adopt animals
People, often overcome by euphoria, decide to capture and adopt some kind of wild animal. This is particularly the case for small tortoises or mud turtles, lizards, hedgehogs, even some small rodent species. These animals are not pets and it is illegal to take them home.
- Do not harass animals
Because of ignorance or excitement, many people treat animals like toys, thus increasing the chances of hurting them. This is particularly true when they take photos. Wild animals have their own ecology and behaviour and they should not be harassed. If you want to take pictures, keep a respectable distance and do not scare the animals.
- Maintain distance
If you have a close encounter with a big animal or a group of animals, always maintain distance of at least 30 meters. Be quiet and try to pass them by quietly and slowly.
- Be aware of your presence
Regardless of the place and the circumstances, you should always be aware of yourself and the environment. When you are in the woods or the mountain, you are almost never alone. You are constantly surrounded by many animals and insects. Always be careful.