You may have heard the saying, “Don’t blindly follow the herd,” but a more important lesson these days may be to not boldly walk into one — especially when it’s of gigantic bison.
A video recently posted to the TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account shone a light on behavior that’s becoming all too common — tourists interacting with wildlife in thoughtless and dangerous ways. Hence the term “touron,” a mix of tourist and moron.
The video, taken by Meredith Weiss Zeller (@meredithzellerrealtor), shows a line of cars completely stopped as a large herd of bison crosses the road. Suddenly, a man gets out of his vehicle, walks directly into the herd, and picks something up off the ground as voices in the video exclaim, “Oh my gosh.”
“This evening during a bison jam in Hayden Valley,” the video’s caption reads. “Tons of bison crossing the road, traffic at a standstill for at least 20 minutes. This guy got out of his car to pick something up right by the group of bison crossing the road.”
“Stay in your vehicle. You’re the tourist,” commented one viewer, hitting the nail very simply on the head.
Visiting national parks and witnessing all they have to offer, including wildlife sightings, is a privilege, and increased wildlife-human interactions should lead to a greater understanding of our natural world and the desire to protect it, not abuse it.
The National Park Service advises that you never approach wildlife, stating: “The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.”
Reckless and entitled behavior like that of this tourist not only endangers himself and the animals but also hinders the connection others experience with nature, as watching these events happen is stressful for bystanders. Further, animals that threaten or injure humans, provoked or unprovoked, may be euthanized.
This man was lucky, but other tourists have not been, like these who had their car rammed by an angry bison in the park, or this woman who fell while running from a startled bison and still tried to snap a selfie.
The video’s comments section was filled with understandable upset and astonishment.
“I’m disappointed,” commented one viewer.
“The bison were even stunned by the level of dim from this touron!” exclaimed another.
As our planet rapidly overheats and the effects become more present, many may be motivated to change the way they vacation. It’s up to all of us to ensure that those who visit these parks are able to do so safely and unhindered.
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