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Parkgoer shares frustrating video of fellow tourist 'tempting fate' for selfie with bison at national park: 'People are out of touch with nature'

"Apparently a selfie is much more important than getting hurt!"

"Apparently a selfie is much more important than getting hurt!"

Photo Credit: Instagram

Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the U.S., is home to hundreds of species of animals and unique hydrothermal springs, and it is a great place to view wildlife. Yet some tourons — the fusing of the words "tourists" and "morons" — put themselves and others in danger by blending the gap between humans and wildlife.

In an Instagram video shared to the page Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks) on June 7, one tourist was "tempting fate," as a commenter put it. 

"Another touron doing bison selfies in the Grand Prismatic parking lot," the caption on the video read. In the video taken from another tourist's car, the man stands within a few feet of a bison, taking a selfie. Then, the bison turns towards the man, causing a nearby woman to run away.

National parks help protect wildlife, providing clean air and fresh water for the parks' ecosystems and the surrounding communities. By immersing ourselves in nature, we can improve our physical and mental health while connecting with wildlife. 

However, by not following rules and guidelines, we can interrupt ecosystems and put ourselves and others in danger. Many national parks, including Yellowstone, require visitors to stay at least 23 meters (about 25 yards) away from wildlife. This helps keep animals safe and not upset their natural behavior. If animals are upset by human intervention, it could lead to physical injury and even death. Encounters between animals and humans can cause authorities to euthanize animals as well.

This visitor taking a selfie with a bison from well within the 25-yard rule is not the only instance of tourons getting too close to wildlife in national parks. At Yellowstone, there are an average of one to two incidents of bison injuring visitors each year. Visitors have captured other parkgoers getting too close to other various species at Yellowstone, including elk and bears

"Apparently a selfie is much more important than getting hurt!" one comment on the video said, mirroring the sentiment that many felt.

"People are out of touch with nature as if these wild animals were as remote as on their TV screen!" added yet another stunned commenter. 

While fines can vary between national parks, one visitor was forced to pay $1000 after touching a bison's calf at Yellowstone in 2023.

"The chance at a photo is not worth risking your life, the lives of other visitors or that of an animal," said Wendy Keefover, senior strategist of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States, per ABC News. "If you ever see someone putting themselves or wildlife in danger, speak out and call 911 to alert law enforcement immediately."

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