• Outdoors Outdoors

Video catches entitled tourists dangerously close to elk herd: 'It absolutely amazes me'

"It's not a petting zoo."

"It's not a petting zoo."

Photo Credit: Instagram

Instagrammer Jake Waninger (@jmwaninger) sent this video to Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks), showing tourists standing very close to a herd of elk in Estes Park, Colorado. 

As the elk rest in their natural habitat, bystanders take videos of the tourons ("tourists" + "morons") and their dangerous proximity to the animals. The term "touron" highlights tourists who act carelessly in natural places, often for the sake of taking photos and videos.

This is yet another example of tourons acting in their own interests instead of considering their impacts on wildlife and their habitats as well as their own safety. Similar videos of tourons are common, where they're caught standing in front of a bison, ignoring fences to stand close to surging waters, or driving off a road into fields of natural poppies. 

The highlighted video was taken in Estes Park, where, according to the park website, humans should stand 75 feet away from elk at all times for safety precautions. 

Disregarding the fact that wildlife are in fact, wild, poses a safety risk to humans, wildlife, and natural ecosystems. For example, when disrupting wildlife in their habitats, you can cause them stress and fear and lead them to actually abandon their homes. This is in turn disastrous for their ecosystems.

Additionally, as per the National Park Service, making elk feel threatened can easily result in their chasing or kicking bystanders, an outcome that is detrimental for everyone.

Incidents such as this one drive home how important it is for there to be more widespread education about how to respect nature among tourists who are visiting parks and interacting with wildlife. 

Commenters on the video shared their frustration with tourists acting so carelessly. 

"It's not a petting zoo," one user said, while another one added, "It absolutely amazes me how stupid people are."

"Why are all these idiots out there in the field pestering the wild life? What business do any of them have out there?" a third user asked.

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