Ask any wildlife photographer who travels the globe, and you'll hear that exploration comes with a heavy burden of responsibility when animals are involved.
As such, travelers must do their homework before visiting animals in their natural habitats. When planning a safari, for example, it's imperative to make sure you'll be in a small group with an expert guide, says Ted Martens, a vice president at Natural Habitat Adventures.
"The most important thing is to research the person or company that takes you out there," Martens told HuffPost. He recommends calling a few different tour companies to find one committed not only to animal welfare, but also to the human communities that often suffer as a result of tourism.
A number of conservation-minded safari groups -- including Natural Habitat Adventures, a partner of the World Wildlife Fund -- host trips that afford close-up interactions with big game animals, while also protecting the creatures' health and wellbeing. There are even ways to bolster the ecosystem you're visiting by collecting data or campaigning for conservation on your trip, the Sierra Club points out.
As if we needed further evidence, check out these stunning photos of creatures from around the world that remind us to admire from a distance.
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