Yellowstone “Tourons” Aren’t The Only Ones Being Careless Around Wildlife
Written by Grace Ballou on July 6, 2023
Over the past month there have been a number of incidents in Yellowstone National Park in which the public approach and provoke wildlife despite being advised not to. In fact, the problem has turn rampant, and Park Service officials have resorted to begging visitors to leave the wild animals alone because enforcing fines and threatening jailtime has not aided to fix the problem.
Now, the issue seems to have extended past the reaches of Yellowstone and into the arms of other national parks as well.
Recently, a man was spotting sneaking up to a grazing bison at Antelope Island State Park in Utah, neglecting regulations prohibiting such behavior. Bison themselves are relatively docile, and typically do not show aggressive behavior, but like all wildlife, they can be unpredictable, especially when they feel like they or they or their offspring are in danger. The man approaching the bison was shared on a rising Instagram profile, @touronsofnationalparks. The account specializes in calling out tourists that act irresponsibly or poorly in national parks, primarily around animals. The account has also posted videos of tourists provoking bears, attempting to pet bison, and posing for pictures around a variety of volatile animals.
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Utah State Park Office have been forced to simulate Yellowstone’s desperate attempts to urge visitors to act responsibly around wildlife and respect their boundaries.
With a minimum of 500 bison on Antelope Island at one time, there it is very likely that anyone will see a bison when visiting, whether driving, biking, or hiking. In accordance with their warnings, park officials tell the public how to behave if they do see one of these large creatures. “If you see a bison and it stops what it’s doing and starts paying attention to you, you are too close and should back away slowly. If you see a bison in the distance, do not walk across the rangeland to get closer to it,” the office says according to Yahoo.
Meaning that if you see the large wild animal by chance ensure that you remain a safe distance away for the safety of the animal and for yourself.
Park manager Jeremy Shaw says “”If you are in the backcountry hiking and you come across any wildlife that’s in your path, we urge you to travel around it. However close you think you should be [to the wildlife], double it. That’s how far back you should stay.”
Shaw’s advice is best to be heeded. There are numerous human-bison encounters that have resulted in the human being rushed to the hospital. In fact, a woman named Rebecca Clark posted a warning video to all tourists after attaining a serious puncture wound in her back from an encounter with a pair of bison in Caprock Canyons State Park. In her video, she showed the incident as it happened, and admitted that she had been negligent and gotten too close to the bison, advising others to act safely when enjoying the beauty of the parks.
@rebeccaclark Solo hiking at Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway in Texas. I was charged and gored by a bison because I was to CLOSE to be passing them on a trailway They are beautiful creatures protected by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and are a part of the Texas State Bison Restoration Project where the park has restored the historic Charles Goodnight Bison herd (The Official Texas State Bison Herd) to a portion of its former range in the park. I am posting to support safety while enjoying Texas State Parks #TPWD #bisonetiquette101 #hikingsafety #llbean #chaos #rei ♬ dumb dumb – sped up – mazie