A pair of tourists have been caught on camera at Yellowstone National Park using one of the native bison as a prop in a photo shoot. There have been several incidents over the last few days where Yellowstone visitors have endangered themselves straying too close to bison, but this one was particularly risky as one of the pair posed with their back to the huge animal, leaving them unable to observe its behavior and move if it began to charge.
The incident was captured by park visitor David Spady earlier this week and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks (often involving wildlife).
"They think Yellowstone Park is a wildlife petting zoo," Spady said. "Some find out the hard way that wild animals are wild and unpredictable. Don’t sit your kid next to a wild 2,000lb bison with sharp horns for a photo."
A photo posted by on
The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors not to pet the 'fluffy cows', and for good reason. Bison have injured more people at Yellowstone than any other animal, including bears and snakes, and last summer three people were gored within the space of a month after getting too close.
"Give bison space when they are near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area," says the NPS. "If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity. "
You should stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from bison at all times. "Approaching bison threatens them, and they may respond by bluff charging, head bobbing, pawing, bellowing, or snorting," the NPS warns. "These are warning signs that you are too close and that a charge is imminent."
For more safety advice, see out guides how to avoid being gored by a bison and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).