• Outdoors Outdoors

National park tourists harass wild elk with illegal drone: 'Complete ignorance and lack of common sense'

"Call parks or fish and game when you see this, so maybe they can catch them in the act."

"Call parks or fish and game when you see this, so maybe they can catch them in the act."

Photo Credit: Instagram

A group of tourons are going viral online because of their irresponsible drone use in a U.S. National Park.

Inconsiderate tourists who violate the rules and regulations of the places they are visiting — dubbed "tourons" (a combination of "tourist" and "moron") — often get attention online when caught on camera engaging in thoughtless acts.

Good Bull Outdoors (@goodbulloutdoors) posted a video of one such group flying a drone near a bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The video pans from the drone, flying only a few feet away from the animal, to the group of people flying it, and then back to the elk as the drone flies away. In between the two parties, there is a busy road with high-speed traffic.

"I'll be turning in closeups of the offenders to whichever agency cares to find and prosecute them," wrote the poster. "What do you think the chances are anything will be done?"

Drone use is generally prohibited by the National Park Service "due to serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft can have for safety of visitors, staff, and wildlife." Before flying an unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of a National Park, the NPS recommends checking the rules and regulations of that specific area.

Fostering a connection with the natural world is important; it has myriad benefits to mental health, and psychologists have found that connecting with nature can encourage more sustainable lifestyle choices from individuals, per the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

However, when tourists begin to flaunt the rules and treat public natural areas as spaces that they own, it dampens others' experiences, endangers people and wildlife involved, and can cause stress to wildlife.  

Engaging with National Parks should involve a healthy respect for the flora and fauna they are instated to respect, as well as an awareness of the public nature of the place.

Commenters on the video were disappointed in the drone pilots and had little faith that action would be taken.

"I think some simple Education would go a long way," wrote one user who advocated for simple ignorance over malicious intent.

A more punitive user suggested: "Call parks or fish and game when you see this, so maybe they can catch them in the act."

Someone capturing the frustration of the moment wrote: "Complete ignorance and or lack of common sense. Time for them to learn."

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