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Photo sparks backlash after careless tourist tempts fate in bison encounter: 'It's not a zoo'

"Some people just think the rules do not apply to them."

"Some people just think the rules do not apply to them."

Photo Credit: iStock

Yet another tourist has been wilfully captured at Yellowstone National Park, breaking the rules regarding animal interaction.

This individual was snapped posing next to a bison calf, little more than two meters (seven feet) away. That's despite the fact the park calls for visitors to stay at least 23 meters (75 feet) from the bovines at all times.

The resulting picture was uploaded to the TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account, and the comments section was awash with anger, bafflement, and condemnation. 

"It's not a zoo, and wild animals get stressed out about people messing with them!" one Instagrammer said. "And so do we. The animals are wild, they are not in the zoo!!"

"Some people just think the rules do not apply to them," added another, while someone else said people like this have "No respect for anything."

There are far too many images and videos of park-goers ignoring park rules — and some are seemingly bragging about it by sharing the resulting footage. Too many visitors think they have the right to get up close to animals for a perfect picture, even though they could just use the zoom function on their cameras to get a closer snap.

In this case, the fact the bison was young is especially troubling. If humans interact with juvenile bison, there is a significant chance it will not be accepted back by the herd. This means the calf might have to fend for itself, which will likely either result in death from predators or euthanization from park officials because it will start to threaten humans for food. 

In May 2023, a newborn bison calf that was handled by a park visitor was put down after attempts to reunite it with the herd were resisted. 

Showing respect and love for animals doesn't mean getting close to them. Keeping your distance and letting the creature go about its business undisturbed is the best way to show you care.

Otherwise, the situation could be bad for everyone involved. That park visitor who touched the baby bison could have been fined $5,000 and given six months in jail, according to NPR.

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