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Wildlife - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains the largest remaining areas of wilderness sanctuary in the East.

 Mammals
 Amphibians
Birds
  Lizards
Fish
 Wildlife Policies
Snakes
Elk

You can increase your chances of seeing wildlife in these ways . . .

• carry binoculars

• drive slowly along park roads at dawn or dusk

• when walking or driving, stop often to watch and listen for wildlife

Most visitors understand that feeding wildlife is against the law, but many people do not realize that disturbing park wildlife is also a violation of federal regulations and can result in fines and arrest.

The laws protecting park wildlife are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. It states that “Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces bear or elk is prohibited." In addition, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited.

As a rule of thumb, if you approach an animal so closely that it changes its behavior, you have approached too closely. Instead use binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras with telephoto lenses to enjoy wildlife. Watch for any modification in an animal's behavior that indicates that you have approached too closely. Move away from the animal until you reach a distance at which the animal feels comfortable once again and resumes whatever activity it was engaged in before you approached.

Never feed wildlife or bait animals for closer observation or photography. Feeding park wildlife usually guarantees its demise.

 


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