This intense footage illustrates why Yellowstone National Park bison are never to be approached or treated as anything less than immensely powerful wild animals.
For a park ranger or wildlife technician, the sentiment is a straightforward, common sense one. But of the millions who travel to Yellowstone every year, many see the park as a safe place tamed by the National Park Service. In fact, the park remains the opposite, as it should. Regardless, this mindset has led to two visitors being gored by bison in less than a month’s time.
Yellowstone National Park is a thriving ecosystem full of incredible wildlife. When visiting the park, we’re doing just that: visiting. Opening a constructive, visual dialogue on how dangerous a false sense of security has become imperative. It’s what Yellowstone National Park rangers, staff, and officials strive for every day. And it will save lives.
Footage of the latest goring hails from Yellowstone visitor Rob Goodell, who then sent it to the popular ‘Tourons of Yellowstone‘ Instagram account. Such dangerous wildlife events have become so common that the term “touron” has been coined in popular culture to describe tourists with moronic behavior. It may sound harsh, but this video perfectly illustrates why it exists:
Within, the adult male visitor, a 34-year-old male from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is gored by a bull bison near Giant Geyser at Old Faithful. Walking the boardwalk with his family, the man and his family come entirely too close to the bison. What follows is a wild animal pursuing a perceived threat.
Yellowstone National Park Bison are Wild, Period.
North American Bison bulls can weigh in excess of a full ton. They are massively powerful megafauna, can run at three-times the speed of us humans, and use their large, pointed horns as a means of both offense and defense. This visitor, who sustained a puncture wound to his arm, is lucky to be alive.
In the video, the man can be seen attempting to protect his family from the bison. While it’s a noble gesture, it’s a situation that never should’ve occurred to begin with.
If a bison is in the vicinity in Yellowstone or any other national park, maintain eye contact and back away. Continue traveling in the opposite direction until you’re at a safe distance. If your vehicle or a shelter is close by, enter it immediately.
*Park regulations require visitors to stay more than 25 yards (23 meters) away from all large animals. This includes bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes.
*For large predators – bears and wolves – visitors must stand at least 100 yards (91 m) away at all times.
“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached,” the park reiterates. “When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space.”
Before visiting, be sure to read park safety on Yellowstone’s NPS safety page here, and in Outsider’s comprehensive guide to Yellowstone wildlife. And remember, Outsiders, to always respect wildlife – and help keep them wild. It can save your life and theirs.