WATCH: Yellowstone National Park Tourist Gets Extremely Close to Two Bison for a Picture

by Jon D. B.
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Yellowstone National Park has a serious “touron” problem, with this latest example showcasing how willing visitors are to tempt fate.

If this is your first time seeing the word “touron,” allow us to explain. Tourist-to-wildlife encounters have become so prevalent (especially in Yellowstone) that this new word, “touron,” has become part of American vernacular. It’s a combination of the words tourist and moron, and once felt harsh. Today, however, it unfortunately feels too kind, if anything.

After a summer dominated by a bison goring incidents and hot springs mishaps, Yellowstone is in desperate need of a new strategy to help keep wildlife wild. It’s a visitor’s own responsibility, though, to keep themselves out of the hospital.

Like this gentleman (and I use that term lightly), who decides it’s totally safe to approach a bison bull and cow as they graze just feet from the road. He even turns his back to the giants to pose for a photo:

The saddest thing about this video, shared by the popular Tourons of Yellowstone, is that this fellow has absolutely no idea that he is approaching a male and female bison in the middle of The Rut. This is, of course, the time when males aggressively court females for mating rights, and will bulldoze anything that stands in their way.

And as a dozen other encounters have shown this summer, this visitor was a split-second away from this bison changing his mind to turn around and send him airborne.

Yellowstone’s Summer of ‘Tourons’

For example: a Colorado man was sent to the hospital in late June after approaching a bison, which gored him and almost trampled a nearby child. Instead of vacating the boardwalk the bison was near in the Old Faithful area, the 34-year-old man proceeded to walk towards the bison, prompting the incident. He was sent to the hospital with severe injuries and is lucky to have survived.

Another bison goring of a young U.K. woman has left one of her legs paralyzed as she struggles with treatment and insurance legalities here in the U.S. And these incidents are but the tip of the bull-shaped iceberg.

Bison bulls often weigh around 2,000 pounds. Without warning, the species can charge at speeds of 30+ miles per hour. No human will ever outrun a bison, period.

As a result, Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay 25 yards away from wildlife at all times, including elk, deer, coyotes, and bison. Park regulations require a distance of 100 yards from predators like wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears.

These park regulations are in place to save lives, both of visitors and wildlife. If broken, visitors can face fines, jail time, and banning from Yellowstone National Park. None of the above is worth a photo.

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