Colorado’s elk mating season is such an event that portions of Rocky Mountain National Park are annually closed to prevent disturbances to and harassment of the animals.
Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks) shared a video on Sept. 25 courtesy of Shannon Faith (@shannonigans67) that showed why such a precaution is necessary, as a gang of more than a dozen elk had apparently retreated into a lake because it was crowded by tourons (tourist + moron = touron).
“I feel so bad for those poor Elk,” one commenter wrote. “People leave them the heck alone….back off!!”
Another said: “People suck! The water is not their natural habitat! Leave them alone and stay back, give them room!”
The discouraging situation happened in Estes Park — the site of a similarly hard-to-watch touron video.
Others who have been documented threatening elk include a couple who let their dog off leash next to two of the beings at Banff National Park in Alberta and a pair who had to run from a cow elk at Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming.
Visitors to Estes Park are asked to comply with safety tips when observing elk during rutting season.
“The most important [thing] is to give them their space,” Elena Patton wrote. “Keep at least 75 feet between you and the elk, about the length of two school buses. If the elk notice you, you’re too close!”
Guests are in close proximity to the animals on a daily basis since there are about 3,000 elk in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
“The elk can be much more aggressive during these times, the cows defending their young in the spring and the bulls defending their harems in the fall,” according to the visitor’s center.
Similar to national park rules across the country, Estes Park safeguards include: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and stay alert, never approach or attempt to touch wildlife, use binoculars and zoom lenses to observe and photograph wildlife, never stop a vehicle or block traffic to view wildlife, secure food and food trash, and do not follow or chase animals, and do not let children or pets do this either.
Feeding wildlife is a huge no-no, too, as human food is unhealthy for the animals and makes them dependent on people for food.
Estes Park sightseers are particularly warned to not imitate an elk bugle or call during the fall mating season.
As most of these edicts were violated by at least 18 people, one commenter summed up the issue: “I’m not sure which ones are the animals.”
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