Grand Teton National Park has reminded visitors to keep a safe distance from the local wildlife after two men were caught harassing a bison calf.
The incident occurred on June 4, 2023, and the pair were photographed approaching the animal. The National Park Service reported that they touched the calf, too.
Baby animals are almost universally adorable, but that doesn’t mean they should be disrespected, and giving them unwanted attention might lead to disastrous consequences.
As the National Park Service detailed, interference from humans often means bison calves are not accepted back into the herd. If that happens, the calf will be put in serious danger as it fends for itself, and it may attack humans in its search for food.
Fortunately, in this instance, the calf was successfully reunited with the herd, but it could have been a much different story. If the effort failed, it’s likely the calf would have been euthanized.
There are some simple rules for visitors to follow at Grand Teton National Park: Stay 25 yards away from wildlife and 100 yards from bears and wolves; never position yourself between a female and offspring; do not feed the wildlife; and do not tease, touch, frighten or intentionally disturb the park’s animals.
“The safety of visitors and wildlife depends on everyone playing a critical role in being a steward for wildlife by giving them the space they need to thrive – their lives depend on it,” the NPS said in a news release following the incident.
But despite the rules and the pleas for visitors to behave themselves, people still seem to think they are too good to follow the guidance.
In Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, for example, one tourist decided to approach a grazing elk for the sake of a picture. Although the individual was unharmed, the elk bluff charged to show its displeasure, and the situation could have been much worse if the animal launched a full attack.
This incident is yet another reminder about how important it is for tourists to be respectful of the parks they are visiting and to educate themselves on the proper ways to interact with wildlife and nature — for the safety of the animals, themselves, innocent bystanders, and park rangers.
“I am SO TIRED OF PEOPLE INTERFERING WITH WILDLIFE,” one user said.
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