Rocky Mountain National Park posted a picture to Facebook recently of a tourist taking a selfie with a moose in an attempt to educate the public about park rules and regulations. In the post, the park shared the illegal photo, and then asked viewers “What is wrong with this picture?” with five multiple-choice style answers.
- A) The park visitor has illegally approached wildlife
- B) The park visitor is in a closed meadow – a meadow that is closed this time of year to protect wildlife!
- C) The young bull moose is demonstrating his concern by laying his ears back
- D) The park visitor has his back to the moose while taking a selfie – moose are faster than they look
- E) All of the above
In case you’re unsure, the answer is “E, all of the above” which underscores exactly why park officials take these rules so seriously. Even a harmless selfie can put both animals and humans at significant risk, USA Today reports.
“All wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park are wild animals and they should be given respect and space to be … wild,” the park said on Facebook and Instagram. “If an animal is reacting to you, you are too close. For moose and bears, keep back at least 120 feet or 36 meters. That’s more than two school bus lengths.”
They also summed up the situation with a simple reminder.
“Don’t ask how close you can get, ask how far you should stay back,” the post concluded.
Many angry park purists want the tourist to face a stiff punishment for his moose selfie
The picture garnered a massive response from upset readers. Over 1,700 comments on the post ranged from simple scoldings to outright calls for police intervention. Many insisted the man should at least receive a fine for his actions; and one rogue vigilante suggested a rather extreme measure be taken to keep the man away from future animals.
“I’d give a whole lot to see him fined, arrested and banned. State and National Parks need to be protected from unthinking, uncaring individuals,” one person said.
“People like this drive me nuts, watched a guy do this very same thing with wildlife at Badlands National Park last fall. Would be great if this clown could be tracked down from this photo and fined for this activity,” another person said.
“First, he ignored the clear posting that says the ‘meadow is closed’…and he’s putting that moose at risk. If I’d been there, he would not be smiling. Take photos of license plates and call a ranger immediately when this happens. I report people when I see it,” another angry commenter fumed.
“I had a pair of rutting moose charge past my conversion van while I was legally parked on the side of a dirt road,” one user remembered. “It shook my van and made me fully appreciate their power. This guy has no idea how dangerous his action was!!!”
“Seems like a tranquilizer dart could prevent tragedy in this case. Of course, the bipedal intruder would be the recipient of said dart.”