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Driver captures frustrating behavior of Yellowstone tourist encroaching on grazing bison: 'Can you just keep a respectful distance?'

"Not very smart."

"Not very smart."

Photo Credit: iStock

Seeing animals in their natural habitats is a glorious thing, but it is best to keep your distance and just let them be. 

According to the U.S. National Park Service, recreation visits to parks in 2023 increased by 13 million. That means human encounters with the animals roaming there have likely increased, too. 

In an Instagram Reel, Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) posted a viral clip of what not to do in these situations, with one such parkgoer getting too close for comfort with the inhabiting bison. 

The visitor is seemingly trying to take a picture of the grazing bovine from no more than three yards away, and several other bison are standing nearby. 

"Keep back at least 25 yards from the bison in Yellowstone," the clip shares in the caption.  

There's good reason to preach caution. Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. They can run three times faster than humans and are known as social animals, traveling with a group averaging around 200 during summertime

Summer typically attracts more people looking for recreation than any other season, even with extreme heat hitting many national parks. 

Big Bend National Park in West Texas, for example, has experienced heat of over 100 degrees from the late morning until sunset, as reported by The Washington Post.  

While animals such as bears, mountain lions, and coyotes are typically adaptable to heat, the effects of long-term drought have altered migration patterns, per the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, less food and reduced water security cause wildlife to roam elsewhere for resources. 

The National Park Service recommends keeping a safe distance — 25 yards to 100 yards — when coming across roaming animals, and encounters could become increasingly more common as creatures cover more land in the search for food and water.

The presence of bison provides huge benefits for ecosystems, such as doubling plant diversity and richness, which helps make lands more resistant to droughts. They are an integral part of North American grasslands, which is why it's best to explore nature responsibly and let these amazing creatures do their thing in safety. 

"Can you just keep a respectful distance?" commented one Instagram user when seeing the viral video.

"Not very smart," another wrote.

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