Elk are large and dangerous wild animals — but for some reason, there seems to be nothing that tourists enjoy more than getting as close as possible to them in an attempt to take low-quality phone photos. And the elk are not huge fans of this practice.
One such encounter in Yellowstone National Park was captured on video (from a distance) and posted to TikTok.
@meganfoster04 Since this has been shared a LOT, i want everyone to know i didnt want him to DIE. I just dont think you should mess with wild animals like this. It was rut season and he had a female calling thing, and would NOT STOP. This went on for 20 minutes before the elk went for him. And then, his friend tried after that! To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please contact email@example.com #estespark #elk #gethim #mad #idiot #wildlife #rut #rutseason #run #runaway #elkattack #elkrut @storyful_viral @storyfulnews ♬ original sound – Megan Foster
“It was rut season and he had a female calling thing, and would NOT STOP,” wrote Megan Foster (@meganfoster04), who filmed and posted the video.”This went on for 20 minutes before the elk went for him. And then, his friend tried after that!”
Though the tourist here escaped harm, not everyone who encounters an aggressive elk is so lucky. An Arizona woman was recently trampled to death by a wild elk that she was suspected of feeding.
Rut season, the autumn period where male elk are looking to mate with female elk, is an especially dangerous time to approach these animals. “Especially during the elk rut, bull elk become very aggressive and dangerous to humans observing. Rocky Mountain National Park recommends to stay two bus-lengths away from elk,” YMCA of the Rockies writes.
All in all, taking a picture of an elk with your phone is not a very good reason to risk imminent death or maiming when there are many high-quality pictures of elk freely available on the internet.
National parks are a great way to interact with nature, but in that interaction, we should always strive to respect wildlife and not harm it. Provoking an attack from a wild animal is dangerous to both the human and the animal, as the animal may end up getting euthanized if it is deemed a threat to tourists.
“We as people forget that we have encroached on his home not the other way around we need to show respect!!” wrote one commenter on the TikTok video.
“All this for a pic! What good is it if you’re covered in antler and hoof marks,” wrote another.
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