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Tourist's split-second decision may have saved their life from charging bison: 'Why in the world would you get this close?'

Male bison can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh 2,000 lbs.

Male bison can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh 2,000 lbs.

Photo Credit: @staytunednbc / TikTok

Some of the videos coming out of Yellowstone will give you a scare, as a significant number of tourists are ignoring the rules and interacting with the wildlife in dangerous ways. 

NBC News' Stay Tuned TikTok account (@staytunednbc) posted a harrowing video of tourists running away from a charging bison when one of them tripped. 

Likely knowing that they couldn't outrun it, the tourist decided to stay on the ground and play dead, hoping the bison would leave them alone. Luckily, it walked away, but the encounter was way too close for comfort — even for viewers. 


This Bison was on the attack...

♬ original sound - staytunednbc

NBC referred to it as an "attack" in the caption, but one viewer quickly pointed out that this is the wrong way to look at it. "It's not [an] 'attack,'" they said, "It's defense. Don't approach a herd."

"Why in the world would you get this close?" asked another commenter.

These are important notes that a handful of national park visitors seem to have forgotten recently, with videos surfacing of tourists getting dangerously close to elk, buffalo, and bison. 

Other comments suggest that it seems like tourists forget that they're not at a zoo, and that these are wild animals living in their natural habitat. "They're out there [acting] like those Bison are domestic creatures," said one user. 

Male bison can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh 2,000 lbs. Despite their size, they are incredibly agile and can run up to 35 mph, turn quickly, jump, and swim — and even though they're a cousin of the cow, they're much more likely to charge unpredictably. 

Yellowstone has signs reminding visitors of the dangers of getting too close to bison and posts information online and around the park to educate tourists on the wildlife, but the messaging clearly doesn't always get through. 

Getting this close to any wild animal is dangerous for you and the animal — either of you could get hurt if it begins to feel defensive — and national parks house hundreds of species at risk for extinction. It's imperative that visitors educate themselves and others to understand that they are to respect and protect the local wildlife's home, not abuse it. 

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