Despite warnings, National Park visitors insist on treating Yellowstone like a zoo

Adult bison and calves on road at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

Despite recent warnings from the National Park Service, visitors to Yellowstone National Park are continuing to flout the rules this summer by getting much too close to wildlife. The latest incident (which you can watch below) involved a group of over 10 people who gathered around a grazing bison to take photos

The incident, which took place on a boardwalk near Old Faithful, was recorded by Bill Hamilton and shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone. The account calls out examples of bad behavior at US National Parks, including visitors trying to pet bison, taking selfies with them, and even attempting to ride them.

Several commenters suggested that standing on a boardwalk may have given the visitors a false sense of security, despite being built to keep people a safe distance from springs and geysers. not to protect them from wildlife. Bison can often be seen crossing boardwalks (even if the wood splinters under their weight) and if one is nearby, it's important to either wait for it to move along or double back.

Last year, a hiker was attacked by a bison after trying to sneak past rather than take a different route that would have lengthened her walk. Rebecca Clark was hiking solo in Caprock Canyons State Park when she came across three bison crossing the trail in front of her. She had nearly passed the group when one animal charged, knocking her to the ground and leaving her with a severe puncture wound to her back.

While recuperating, she shared a video of the incident on TikTok as a warning to others who might be tempted to take their chances with the animals.

"I was charged and gored by a bison because I was [too] close to be passing them on a trailway," Clark wrote. "They are beautiful creatures protected by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and are a part of the Texas State Bison Restoration Project where the park has restored the historic Charles Goodnight Bison herd (the official Texas state bison herd) to a portion of its former range in the park. I am posting to support safety while enjoying Texas State Parks."

The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that no matter how calm they may seem to be, wild animals can be unpredictable and dangerous, and the safest place to watch them is from inside a car. When hiking, you should always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison and elk, and at least 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves.

For more advice, see our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 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), usually wearing at least two sports watches.