A video of a man mindlessly walking through the middle of a group of grazing elk at Estes Park has drawn condemnation on Instagram, with users furious about the lack of respect shown for the animals.
“Gotta get that elk selfie — even if it means walking into the middle of the herd, right?” Good Bull Outdoors (@goodbulloutdoors) captioned the footage, which was uploaded to the Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks) Instagram account.
In his fluorescent jacket, hat, and gloves, this tourist tackled the snowy weather to take a stroll through the area that is home to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s base.
But the other accessory he had was his camera phone, which he used to take a series of selfies demonstrating his bravery — or, rather, stupidity — while needlessly approaching the herd.
The video features an incredible moment, though, when the tourist stops to grab a picture, and one elk raises its head, seemingly baffled by what the guy is up to.
“Needless to say this isn’t a very good idea,” Good Bull Outdoors added in what is undoubtedly an understatement. “Come June when they have babies this move is likely to result in someone losing a spleen.”
Indeed, elk are incredibly protective of their young. The large deer are known to charge if they feel threatened, but the likelihood of this happening increases exponentially if there are calves in the area.
Some users noted that the tourist did remain on the path while ambling through the herd, but that wouldn’t have protected him if the elks grew displeased. He should have found an alternative route rather than putting himself in danger — and he increased that risk by stopping to take pictures.
The Rocky Mountain National Park website says visitors must remain at least 75 feet away from elk at all times. This visitor was that close to at least five of the huge deer species.
“Even children know better,” one comment read. “You ppl should feel ashamed & 2 b honest need [to be] turned in for these things.”
“Good thing he’s got that safety jacket on, that’ll help identify him after he’s been mauled,” another user quipped.
It’s essential to respect all animals at national parks, but it’s even more vital to be mindful when around creatures that could cause serious injury or worse.
Whether it’s bears, bison, or moose, steering clear is so important to not provoke an attack that will likely lead to the animal being euthanized over fears that habituation would lead to another unfortunate incident.
Animals face enough challenges surviving in the wild — and global heating is making that even more difficult considering its negative impact on habitats and available food — and humans putting their lives at risk by invading their personal space doesn’t help at all.
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