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Park visitor snaps photo of tourist attempting to pose with wild animal: 'People really should keep a distance'

"This is not a good idea."

"This is not a good idea."

Photo Credit: iStock

A stunned park visitor captured a photo of a tourist getting dangerously close to a wild elk. 

In the image, the visitor is standing within a few feet of the animal and posing for a selfie.

"This is not a good idea."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Though the elk was seemingly calm during the interaction, it could have stood up and attacked the tourist at any moment.

The term touron — a combination of the words tourist and moron — has become a popular phrase to describe tourists who tempt fate and recklessly interact with wild animals. 

Redditors discussed the danger of the situation and why this type of behavior is disrespectful toward wildlife.

"Yes, it's dangerous. Plenty of people do this in Estes Park and every year or so someone picks the wrong elk at the wrong time and pays for it," responded one user.

"Estes is like Yellowstone in that it's a place people go that want to experience nature but have zero understanding of what nature is," wrote another Redditor.

"People get absolutely wrecked doing this kind of thing a few times a year in Colorado," commented one user.

Across the U.S., park rangers enforce wildlife guidelines to keep both visitors and animals safe. In similar situations, tourists have not been as lucky and have been severely injured after approaching wild animals for a photo

Disregarding the safety guidelines also places the animals at risk. When visitors approach wildlife, they invade the animal's natural habitat and catch them off guard. 

Spreading awareness is essential to ensure park visitors understand how to safely view and appreciate wildlife from a distance. Interactions with wild animals should always respect nature and lead to a greater understanding of the environment. 

"This is not a good idea. One of those elk could suddenly decide to attack you," wrote one user.

"People really should keep a distance and leave wildlife alone," commented another Redditor.

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