Yellowstone National Park officials warn tourists constantly about keeping a safe distance from the wild animals in the park, but despite the danger, some tourists still insist on pursuing an encounter with wildlife.
Since Yellowstone opened for the 2023 season two months ago, there have been more tourists caught on camera attempting to interact with wildlife than in year previous with some interactions resulting in the death of park animals.
The National Park Service (NPS) issued a statement recently asking tourists to keep a safe distance from animals after a tragic incident in which a man tried to “rescue” a bison calf, which was then rejected by its herd. The calf was eventually euthanized.
Bison encounters are the most common wildlife caught on camera, mainly due to the abundance of bison throughout the park. Don’t let their fluffy appearance and docile attitude fool you, they are dangerous and unpredictable animals that are responsible for more injuries than any other wildlife in Yellowstone.
In a recent videos posted on Instagram by @touronsofyellowstone, a group of tourists had a close call with a bison when they underestimated its quiet nature. The profile “Tourons of Yellowstone” share content dedicated to spreading awareness of Yellowstone and wildlife safety by showcasing videos of tourists who do not listen to National Park Service warnings and rules.
Unfortunately , that interaction is not the only bison encounter caught on camera. A couple was recently caught on video attempting to take an upclose photo with a bison bull.
Bison encounters are the most common animal interaction to be cause on camera, but not the only one. Recently, two park visitors had a close call with a mama elk and her calf when they tried to get an up-close photo of the pair. The cow elk charged at the park visitors in an attempt to protect her baby.
Remember to stay 25 yards away from bison and elk at all times, and 100 yards from bears and wolves. Do not approach wildlife intentionally. If you are not sure how close is too close, a good rule of thumb is to hold out your arm, close on eye and give the bison or elk a thumbs up. If you can hide the animal with your thumb, you are in a safe range to view them, but when possible, view wildlife from inside a vehicle. Yellowstone National Park is not a petting zoo. The wildlife inside the park are just that, wild.
Wildlife encounters are not the only danger that can be found in Yellowstone National Park. Throughout the park, there are designated paths and boardwalks marked for the safety of visitors. Unfortunately, there are people hurt or killed every year for not staying on the path or following the park signs posted.
In this video posted by @touronsofyellowstone on Instagram, a man was found walking off of the boardwalk to get a closer view of a hydrothermal feature, despite the park’s posted rules.
And in this video shared to the page over the weekend, a tourist put herself and a small child at risk when the two crossed the guardrail above the Brink of the Lower Falls to get closer to the water.
Yellowstone is a place full of adventure, but please adventure safely by following the rules and guidelines of the park. Stay on the marked pathways and in designated viewing areas as they are in place for your safety. Venturing off of the boardwalks and trails can lead to unfamiliar danger, injury or even death.
To learn more about how to visit Yellowstone safely, please watch this brief video from the National Park Service.