7.2 Flight Initiation Distance Buffers


Fight initiation distance (FID) is the distance at which an animal will start to move away from an approaching threat such as a trail user. FID has been recorded for variety of species and these distances may serve as general guidelines for establishing buffers from critical wildlife areas (see table).

These distances are based on being approached by a single person on foot. Groups of people may require wider buffers. Many other factors influence FID and a wildlife biologist should be consulted.


Note that FID is the distance at which the animal begins to evade a threat; an additional setback should be added to the FID to create a buffer that will minimize wildlife disturbance. An additional 130 to 170 feet has been recommended as the additional buffer distance.

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