“Never turn your back to a bison.” That was the hashtagged warning on a Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram post showing a park-goer putting themselves in danger for the sake of a picture.
After getting their desired snap, they moved away, but the grunts from the nearby bovines suggested some displeasure at the individual encroaching on the animals’ personal space while they were enjoying a snack.
Yellowstone National Park’s website says visitors must stay at least 23 meters (75 feet) away from bison at all times, but this person was closer than that.
Bison can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, so it wouldn’t have taken them long to catch up to the hapless tourist, who wouldn’t have seen them coming.
“How did he survive!?” asked one baffled commenter, and their sentiments were shared by other Instagrammers.
Another added, “Find him … fine him 5000.00 and give him a lifetime ban from ALL national parks.”
As USA Today reported, a Yellowstone tourist from Hawaii received a $500 fine and a $500 community service payment to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund in June after disturbing a bison calf by getting too close in May.
The calf had to be euthanized as it was no longer accepted by the herd following the encounter, with a Yellowstone release saying the young bison began to cause a “hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway.”
While there were seemingly no calves around when the latest encounter occurred, the news from June demonstrates the importance of adhering to park rules.
Not only did the tourist put themselves at risk of injury or worse, one or both of the bison may have also suffered dire consequences through no fault of their own.
If you truly want to show respect to the wildlife at Yellowstone, give them the space they need and deserve.
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