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Video captures tourists crowding dangerously close to grazing elk: 'I see this every time I visit Yellowstone'

"Stay in your darn cars and leave them be."

"Stay in your darn cars and leave them be."

Photo Credit: Instagram

For the umpteenth time, tourists were caught on video crowding dangerously close to wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.

This video, posted to Instagram by Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) shows about a dozen tourists — including young children — just a few feet from a grazing elk. More than half of the individuals filmed have their phones out, appearing to be taking pictures or videos of the wildlife.

"I see this every time I visit Yellowstone," commented one user. "Twice a month I go to the Park. It's not always an elk, sometimes it's a bison or deer or a coyote. Sometimes a bear."

Unfortunately, it's true. Tourons — a moniker that combines the words "tourist" and "moron" — are the sole subject of the Tourons of Yellowstone account. Enough people are caught recklessly approaching wildlife for the account to make multiple posts a week.

From grizzly bear charges to close encounters with America's largest land mammal to pets' lives being in danger, Tourons of Yellowstone has seen it all.

But all these incidents can stem from several things: a lack of respect or even understanding about nature.

Nature can be dangerous, and the ways we interact with it can put everyone at risk.

National park rules about watching wildlife from a distance are in place to protect visitors and wildlife. Abusing these rules stresses wildlife, and it can add to the burden of park rangers, whose jobs are to ensure the safety of visitors and the ecosystem. In certain cases, not following regulations can result in wildlife euthanization

Dangerous behavior also inhibits a goal of national parks: to give visitors the opportunity to more deeply learn about our natural world and foster a desire to protect it. Not to mention national parks play a critical role in preserving natural resources and ecosystems, maintaining clean air and water, and providing beautiful spaces for current and future generations to explore. 

To ensure national parks remain open for all to enjoy, the rules — and wildlife — should be appreciated and respected at all times.

In the meantime, until there is no more purposeful or inadvertent harmful behavior, it appears Tourons of Yellowstone will not be afraid to keep calling people out. 

"What is wrong with these people?" one user commented on the video. "Stay in your darn cars and leave them be for others to enjoy later the same way."

"No idea they could get killed. And then animal wind up being killed too," another person said. 

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