Time to let go of that perfume and body lotion. Be cautious with the kind of sunscreen and bug repellent you’re wearing (they need to be environment-safe). Give your skin a rest and preserve wildlife!
One does not think about the importance of smells, and the consequences of artificial smells in wildlife. Just because we don’t have the nose of a dog or a pig, it doesn’t mean that those smells do not exist. A lot of artificial smells carry allergens that are not inoffensive. It takes having an asthmatic cat sometimes to realize that. Additionally, artificial smells confuse trails and therefore alter the habitat olfactory signature. It’s enough to add our own natural homo sapiens to the olfactory map of the habitat, so we don’t need to add to it with strong artificial chemical compounds.
This is even more important in water. Here it takes another dimension: chemicals that we use do pollute streams, rivers, and oceans. Examples that come to mind are the issue of bioluminescence events death due to harmful chemicals (sunscreens etc.) in the Caribbean or of their impact on coral reefs ([WL15],[DC16]). So make sure when you go diving, snorkeling or swimming that your sunscreen is reef safe (Check our 🐠 Reefs Rules for more information and recommendations).
Almost forgot! Be as aware as you can of wind direction: you want to be downwind from your subject so that your scent doesn’t give away your presence and interfere with your sighting and observations.
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◊ The references mentioned in this page are listed in the Extended Bibliography.