Many tourists who visit national parks and other nature preserves are well-versed in the appropriate way to act around wild animals, but some are not.
A video posted on YouTube under the name Randall Champion shows a tourist being charged by a bull elk after they broke one of the top safety rules for dealing with elk — don’t get between a male and female.
In the video, which says the “dumbest animals in Yellowstone have two legs,” there are a few female elk standing off to the side, and a male elk, aka a bull, standing nearby. The tourist is borderline standing in between the two — one of the most noted things to avoid.
The bull elk then charges at the man, antlers down, who tries to run but trips and falls. Luckily, the elk decided that just a scare was enough and left him alone after that.
Even more surprisingly, there are plenty of other tourists milling around on foot and in their cars very close by — something the National Park Service also cautions strongly against. It suggests staying a minimum of 75 feet away at all times.
This isn’t an isolated incident, either. One woman had almost the exact same encounter with a bison, but when she tripped, she decided to play dead, which worked in her favor. This isn’t always the cause, however, as the Parks Canada site specifically says not to play dead if you trip when escaping an elk.
Elk bulls can be up to five feet tall at shoulder height and can weigh up to 1,100 pounds. Getting charged by one can be fatal.
These large animals are breathtaking, and it’s normal to be entranced by their size and beauty. This, however, does not negate the fact that they’re wild animals, and elk in particular are known to be aggressive. And if an elk is provoked into attacking a human, there is a risk the animal could be euthanized.
While we can admire them, it’s important to be educated on safe ways to do so. This information is readily available on any national park website and on signs around the parks.
Commenters were dismayed and shocked by the lack of respect for the elk.
“I was born and raised there,” one said. “We came out every summer to watch the two legged animals, they were more entertaining. Unfortunately we had to watch many people every year get seriously injured. And the part that would infuriate all of us the most is; once an animal injures an idiot they have to kill the animal.”
“That elk showed that idiot a lot of mercy,” another added. “He could have impaled him and killed him right there.”
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