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Video of tourist breaking national park rules with illegal use of gadget sparks anger online: 'Wildlife harassment'

"It's wrong."

"It's wrong."

Photo Credit: iStock

We all know drones can provide spectacular views of the natural environment, but using them in national parks is strictly forbidden and can land you and your drone in hot water. 

A recent video shared by the Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account documents one visitor operating such a device outside of the path parameters while other tourists pass by. 

Not only were they breaking explicit rules against drone use and deviating from designated paths in Yellowstone National Park, but they were seemingly in disguise. 

"I love how they're apparently wearing a wig, so they won't be so easily identified," one keen-eyed commenter noted.  

"I really cannot handle drones in any park or peaceful place. It's wrong," another shared, and they're right, even in the legal sense. In this case, using a drone at Yellowstone could get you up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to the National Park Service. 

It's not without precedent. Illegal drone users at Yellowstone have been known to crash their devices into geysers. 

These natural ecosystems can be more fragile than they seem, and it's up to all of us to respect natural habits and indigenous wildlife. 

While you try to get some great drone footage before anyone notices, you're really engaging in what one commenter clearly stated as "wildlife harassment."

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A report by the National Park Service shows that visitation has soared in recent years. There were 325.5 million visitors across 400 national parks in the U.S. in 2023, and that's 13 million more than the previous year, according to KSBY news.  

It may not be surprising to find that traffic-related incidents were the most common cause of injury and death at Yellowstone, involving both humans and animals. 

Situations like these led Canada to fund the Banff Wildlife Crossings Project in the Rocky Mountains. Creating car-free green overpasses for the animals in the area helped unite a divided ecosystem and save lives. 

It's unclear if any of the tourists passing by the drone user made an effort to intervene or educate, but we can all work together to protect these environments. 

As one Instagram user stated: "Nobody is going to say or do anything? I've educated people when they're doing things that could endanger the park. You can be nice and still get the point across." 

They weren't alone. Another commenter supported level-headed action by saying, "If you see them using a drone, remind them."

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