Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Brooklyn. Brooklyn Wonders, “On nature shows how can they get so close to the animals?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Brooklyn!

Have you ever seen “Planet Earth”? How about “March of the Penguins”? Or “The Crocodile Hunter”? They’re some of the most-watched films and TV shows about animals in the wild. Have you ever WONDERed how the filmmakers got so close to wild animals?

After all, aren’t kids usually told to stay away from wild animals? People aren’t supposed to touch animals at the zoo or aquarium. You’re even supposed to stay away from most animals you see in the local park!

Well, filmmakers who catch wild animals on camera have a few tricks up their sleeves. First, they use tiny cameras. This gives filmmakers the freedom to move around instead of waiting for animals to come to the camera. It also means they can leave small cameras in many places to capture as much as possible. Imagine what you would catch on camera by leaving it in a tree all day! Filmmakers leave cameras in trees, on top of mountains, and anywhere else animals might roam.

Drones also help film photographers get up-close pictures of wild animals. With a drone, they can get cameras to places people can’t access. Drones are easy to maneuver and much smaller than helicopters, which used to be used for this kind of shooting.

Finally, filmmakers use camera traps. These are devices that snap photos when they detect movement. Camera traps allow photographers to take pictures without even being there! They can then choose the best material to include in their film.

Of course, wildlife photographers still get pretty close to wild animals for many of their pictures. Is that safe? Like most things, it’s complicated.

Wildlife photographers have training and experience in working with wild animals. Most people should not get as close to wildlife as they do. According to Yellowstone National Park, everyday people should stay at least 100 yards away from most wildlife. This includes bears, deer, moose, and foxes.

And whatever you do, don’t feed wild animals! Doing so can be a disaster for both you and the animal. Feeding wildlife can make them become aggressive toward humans. It also encourages them to seek out people, leading them to crowded areas they shouldn’t be in. It makes them more likely to be hit by vehicles or hurt in other ways.

But have no fear! You can still get great pictures of wild animals without getting up close and personal. The best way to get a picture of an animal is to be patient, stay where you are, and wait for them to come toward you. But still, don’t let the animal get too close! Snap a picture when the animal is a safe distance away. Then, carefully leave. Always remember, wild animals are just that—wild! Keep your distance and stay safe.

Luckily, people don’t have to put themselves in danger to see wild animals up close. There are many wildlife documentaries and photo collections to choose from! The next time you feel like getting in touch with nature, ask a friend or family member to view one with you. Better yet, look for wildlife near you! You never know what you’ll find in a backyard or public park.

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