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Image shows frustrating scene at national park as unattended child gets too close to wild animal: 'So sad that parents are so clueless'

"No parents to be found."

"No parents to be found."

Photo Credit: Instagram

Folks online are once again buffaloed by the neglectful behavior of tourists in one of America's most popular national parks. 

Access to North American national parks has improved dramatically in recent history as paving projects and an outdoor movement has increased accessibility and enthusiasm for parks. According to the Department of the Interior, national parks in the United States received 297 million visits in 2021. This figure does not count a total number of visitors, as it is possible for multiple people to gain entry with one pass.  

Due to this increase in visitation, stories of tourons have been going viral online as the uninitiated are caught on camera doing things that endanger themselves or the wildlife they are visiting.

Recently one such post made the rounds on Instagram. An image of an unattended child standing mere feet, or within charging distance, of a bison at Yellowstone National Park has sparked outrage.

The caption of the post on the Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) account says there were "no parents to be found" as this young person "ran" up to the bison to take a photo at dangerously close range.

Increased visitation to our national parks has been a double-edged sword. On the positive end, psychologists have found that those who are able to form a deeper connection with nature are more likely to engage in more sustainable habits.

Theoretically, more people in national parks is a win for the environment and a step in the right direction for conservation and climate causes.

However, the actions of tourons can negatively impact experiences of other nature enthusiasts and the park. Discourteous actions by tourists can cause stress for wildlife, endanger habitat, and endanger themselves and other tourists.

In these instances it is important to remember that while we are lucky to be able to access our natural treasures, the parks are put in place to protect endangered and unique flora and fauna; the fact that they provide enchanting selfie backdrops is only a bonus.

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Those who interacted with the post were blown away by the negligence of the parents, angered at the disturbance to the wildlife, and concerned over what could have happened to the young child in the photo.

One user wrote that they cannot blame the child: "I'm going to blame the child's parents or their guardian for not properly teaching that child about dangerous wildlife."

"So sad that parents are so clueless that their child could be seriously hurt! The Park Rangers do their best to tell visitors how dangerous things can become! … We have to protect our wildlife and endangered species!" someone else added. 

Another added: "Bison are ill tempered and by the way can run 30 + miles per hour."

Finally, someone points out a very real solution: "That's why they make Telephoto lenses."

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