Yellowstone National Park Officials Beg Tourists To Leave Animals Alone, ‘Give It Space’
Written by Grace Ballou on June 15, 2023
With the arrival of summer, there is an increasing number of people visiting Yellowstone National Park, the oldest National Park in the United States. Unfortunately, there is also a baffling number of human/animal encounters, with numerous visitors approaching wildlife despite the park’s strict regulations.
In the past few weeks alone, there has been a number of incidents that have endangered both animals and humans, some of which resulted in the deaths of multiple Yellowstone wildlife, according to the National Park Service. The interaction between wild animals and humans has gotten so out of control, Yellowstone officials have become desperate to convince their visitors to leave all wildlife alone.
The National Park Service begs tourists who see an animal to “leave it alone and give it space.”
On May 20, a woman was caught on video taking a selfie with a fully grown bison laying on the grass. Fortunately, the bison paid no mind to the woman invading its grazing space. However, this behavior can’t be expected of all bison and other animals. In the past, bison have been responsible for injuring humans who have gotten too close.
In addition, calving season has recently begun for female elk, meaning that they may be more prone to aggression in order to protect their young.
Because of unpredictable animal behaviors, visitors are required to remain at least 25 yards away from all wildlife, including elk, bison, and deer. They must also stay at least 100 yards away from wolves and bears.
Ignoring these regulations will result in fines at the bare minimum. The risk also includes severe injury, and even death when not taking proper precautions.
Recently, a visitor from Hawaii was caught on video picking up a bison calf from the river in Yellowstone on May 20, causing the animal’s herd to reject it. Because of this, the calf had to be euthanized..
The man pleaded guilty for intentionally disturbing wildlife and was forced to pay a $500 fine to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund. This is one of many other incidents with wildlife at the park that are being investigated at this time.
An emerging Instagram profile, “@touronsofyellowstone,” is making headway by documenting some of these incidents. The profile name comes from combining “tourists” with “morons,” and does its best to display visitors making poor decisions in the park. With over 271,000 followers, Yellowstone has become notable for the amount of unsafe human-wildlife interactions.
The Instagram profile has recently posted videos of a woman nearly getting run over by an elk chasing her and a man who got out of his vehicle to harass a bear and was then chased in return. Not to mention the continually increasing number of people, both teenagers and adults, approaching bison to pose with them.
Getting too close to wildlife in Yellowstone can ruin one of the most magical aspects that Yellowstone has to offer. Neglecting the boundaries installed by the Park Officials for a reason can lead to consequences for all members of the situation, animals and humans included.
Tourists must also be aware that the amazing creatures can end up on roads, and driving too fast or without full attention can lead to the deaths of those animals. More and more animals are being killed on Yellowstone roads. This year alone there have been reports of black bears, elk, and bison being struck by cars and in some cases, killed
The National Park Service urges the public to take the “Yellowstone Pledge” to help educate the public how to protect themselves and prevent these terrible incidents.
It is important for everyone who visits Yellowstone to take the safety of the park animals seriously and not to take any actions that could endanger them.