Visitors to Yellowstone National Park are advised to keep 25 yards away from bison, elk, and other wildlife at all times.
There are no exceptions for this — not even to take a picture.
One group of tourists almost found out the consequences of getting too close to a bison, and they had a lucky escape.
In footage uploaded to the TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account, via Cone Baby on YouTube and National Park Disservice (@nationalparkdisservice), three people are seen walking along the road and trying to grab a snap of a bison grazing in a field.
Perhaps they thought they would be safe with a slight hill between the group and North America’s largest land mammal. But after getting a little too close for comfort, the bison understandably snapped, and it charged at the group. It was as if the incline wasn’t even there.
The trio were fortunate for a few reasons. First, as Yellowstone Park’s own website attests, bison have injured more people at the area of natural beauty than any other animal, so making one mad wasn’t the best idea.
A male bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds and run as fast as 30 miles per hour, meaning you’ll know if you get hit by one.
Next, the bison was next to a fairly busy road. As it began its approach, the group wisely made a break for it, but unwisely ran across both lanes of the thoroughfare.
They could easily have been hit by oncoming traffic, or the bison could have run into a vehicle — and that would have ended badly for both parties.
The comments section on Instagram was furious.
“If they get hurt the animal gets the blame,” one user observed, with another asking, “Will they ever learn!?”
“Why can’t people give them, or any other living being, the space and respect they deserve,” read another comment. “The bison are not happy and I just don’t understand why so many of these [incidents] are occurring.”
This should be a learning experience, though. Hopefully the group gets a newfound respect for nature after the incident and will understand that interactions between humans and wild animals can cause undue stress for the latter, and can end very badly for both parties.
It’s not the first time, and it likely won’t be the last, that tourists have thought the rules don’t apply to them at Yellowstone. A close-up picture isn’t worth risking your life, though.
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