Shocking images show bands of Yellowstone National Park tourists mere feet away from a large boardwalk-bound bison.
Per park officials, bison have injured more people in Yellowstone National Park than any other animal. And just one week after the first bison goring of 2022 in the park, a group of unfortunate images would surface on Facebook. Shared by Ken Carleton, the photos show dozens of tourists gawking at a boardwalk-bound bison from mere feet away. Once they went live on June 7 (before Yellowstone’s historic flood), the online community immediately began circulating and condemning the images.
The photos show a large North American bison using the boardwalk as a chin-scratching post. Each Yellowstone visitor nearby then closes in to incredibly dangerous proximity to photograph the giant. Some even turn their backs to obtain “bison selfies.”
This, of course, is not only a Yellowstone National Park faux pas – but an illegal action warranting legal consequence. Over the past year, one woman has been tried & charged and is serving jail time for willfully approaching Yellowstone grizzly bears.
“If wildlife are on or near a boardwalk in a thermal area within 25 yards (from wildlife such as bison or elk) and 100 yards (for bears and wolves) [of a person], people should move away to maintain that distance,” Yellowstone spokeswoman Linda Veress told Cowboy State Daily after the photos surfaced.
“On a boardwalk, they should go back the way they came and wait for the animal to leave. All of the people in the Facebook photo[s] were much too close and this was an unsafe situation,” Veress continued.
The Animals in Yellowstone National Park ‘Are Wild and Unpredictable’
“The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be, and bison can run three times faster than people,” she adds. All of the above is paramount, as wild animals are wild, period. The majority of wildlife-caused injuries and/or deaths come via human conduct, and not animal behavior.
A week prior, that first bison goring of 2022 resulted in a Yellowstone visitor being “tossed 10-feet into the air” by the behemoth. The woman survived, but the event was triggered by her coming within 10-feet of the bison.
So spread the word, Outsiders: Never approach any wild animal in Yellowstone National Park! The following park guidelines are crucial for both your safety and that of park wildlife:
The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.Yellowstone National Park
As for that woman who pursued Yellowstone grizzlies, she faces up to a year in jail and $10,000 in fines. Which, hopefully, will deter future tourists from doing the same; bear or bison.