A recent video showcased a “touron” — a derogatory nickname that combines “tourist” and “moron” — getting dangerously close to an elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Luckily, the woman retreated and gave the animal its space before any injuries occurred, as provoked animals may wound people when they are distressed or aggravated.
Elk bulls can weigh over 1,000 pounds and are known to be more aggressive during their mating season, toward the end of the year. No matter the season, the National Park Service advises onlookers to remain at least 75 feet — a distance about the length of two school buses — away from elk at all times.
Refraining from approaching wildlife is one of the simplest, most obvious safety rules implemented in nature preserves and national parks.
However, some visitors still break this rule in seeking a cool picture or video for social media.
🗣️ Should national parks be allowed to ban visitors for bad behavior?
🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind
Climate awareness starts with a deep respect for nature. Humans getting the chance to interact with wildlife in a safe, appropriate way should help us all to gain a better understanding of the earth as well as our desire to protect it rather than abuse it by using wild animals as photography props.
Reckless, entitled behavior exhibited by tourons shows a blatant disregard for sacred moments of connection with the natural world, making it harder for more responsible individuals to have their own memorable experiences with nature.
Seeing these kinds of incidents occur is stressful for wildlife, bystanders, and park rangers who work tirelessly to protect the environment. These occasions can also endanger wildlife, as animals that harm humans, whether they have been provoked or not, could be euthanized for instinctually acting in self-defense.
“It’s a privilege to be so stupid,” a commenter wrote.
“Grandma’s gonna get run over by a reindeer!” another joked.
One simple comment captured the essence of all disrespect toward animals in their natural habitats: “Too much stress on nature. Everywhere.”
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