National Park Service Shares Hilarious PSA to Remind Visitors About Wildlife Safety

by Amy Myers

Not a summer goes by without hearing word of a visitor getting a little too comfortable around national park wildlife. But this year, the NPS is hoping its safety PSA will help curb the number of human-wildlife encounters.

As permanent residents of our national parks, animals like elks, moose, bears and antelopes have grown to work around the many visitors that pass through their grazing grounds and habitats. However, this understanding only goes so far. Once a tourist decides to ignore the park’s rules and approach or feed an animal, that’s when things get messy.

It seems like common sense, but still, dozens of visitors still take the risk every year. So, in response, the NPS has created a PSA that even a toddler can’t misinterpret. On Instagram, the Service posted a graphic that clearly laid out the Dos and Don’ts with park wildlife.

Take a look.

“National parks offer a unique experience for watching wildlife,” the NPS explained in the caption. “But with that privilege comes great responsibility. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and for the safety of the animals, too. Simply put, leave animals alone—no touching, no feeding, no harassing. Just remember to keep your distance, and enjoy your experience watching wildlife.”

The NPS stressed that the PSA wasn’t for those that have respected wildlife. Instead, the message is for those with “vacation brain” or “get taken in by bear’s ears and other cuddly thoughts, only to have a less than pleasant experience in nature.”

National Park Service’s Seven Tips for Wildlife Safety

Besides the recent comical PSA, the NPS also has an entire page dedicated to wildlife safety tips. In fact, they’ve even broken it down to a list of seven guidelines to make it incredibly easy for visitors to both protect wildlife and remain safe, themselves.

Check it out:

1. Know before you go. Like Leave No Trace, the best way to avoid any unwanted confrontations with wildlife is to have the proper gear. This could mean leaving the scented hand sanitizer at home or making sure your granola doesn’t fall onto the trail.

2. Give animals room. The NPS drove this point home with their graphic. Really, if you see wildlife, just admire from afar. When it comes to bears, admire from much farther away.

3. Do not disturb. This is especially true for baby animals. Many times, the mom will leave their young in a safe spot while they forage or hunt.

4. Keep your eyes on the road. Out near Yellowstone National Park, bison on the roads are just as common as asphalt. Make sure you pay attention to any fellow travelers on four legs.

5. Store your food and stash your trash. Don’t leave any food unattended while visiting a park or staying at a campground. Always store your food in scent-proof containers and carry out any trash you bring in.

6. See something, say something. If you see an animal acting strangely, don’t brush it off. Tell a park ranger so that they can prevent the spread of potential diseases.

7. Be responsible. The choice to stay safe is ultimately yours. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t stop them from feeding the ducks.