A video of tourists getting dangerously close to a wild elk in Grand Canyon National Park sparked outrage online.
The account TravelingHumanBeans (@travelinghumanbeans) shared the video on TikTok to spread wildlife awareness.
“This was 1/4 of a mile past the giant sign that says ‘Don’t approach wild elk!’” read the caption.
@travelinghumanbeans This was 1/4 mile past the giant sign that says, “Don’t approach wild elk!” #grandcanyon #arizona #elk ♬ Dumb ways to die – Enzo El Perro
TikTok users were frustrated to see tourists blatantly disregarding the wildlife safety guidelines.
“People are so disconnected with how to treat the animals, nature, and land,” commented one TikTok user.
“They have no idea how bad this could’ve been this time of year,” wrote another user.
“They think since the elk is moving slowly, it always moves slowly. It won’t waste energy until it decides it needs to defend itself,” wrote one TikToker.
Unfortunately, instances of tourists approaching wildlife for photos have become common throughout national parks. In a similar situation, a wild elk charged after a couple who came too close to the mother elk and her calf.
Full-grown male elk can weigh up to 900 pounds, and when provoked, they can cause serious injuries. As a result, it’s much safer to admire these wild animals from the recommended distance. In Grand Canyon National Park, visitors are advised to remain at least 100 feet away from elk, bison, deer, and condors.
When visitors disregard the safety guidelines, they endanger both themselves and the animals. Wildlife can be unpredictable, especially when approached by nearby tourists. In some situations, when an animal injures a human, the animal may be euthanized.
To protect the local ecosystem and its wildlife, it’s important to follow the park ranger’s guidelines. Spreading climate awareness is one of the main ways to prevent humans from disrespecting nature and abusing wildlife interactions.
“When folks think they’re at an outdoor zoo,” responded one user.
“I don’t even live anywhere near these beautiful creatures…but I still know!!!” wrote another TikToker.
“Don’t interfere, just let natural selection do its job,” joked one user.
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