At least three tourists had a close call at Grand Canyo National Park recently when they approached a bull elk to take photos, and found themselves being charged and forced back. Despite the animal being clearly agitated and distressed, several of the visitors seemed to find the encounter funny and approached repeatedly, ignoring the bull's attempts to drive them away.
Eventually one man in the group becomes concerned and calls his companion back, telling them that there are females nearby whom the male is guarding.
The incident was shared on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty, often involving wildlife. Other recent encounters have included a group of tourists mobbing an elk in the Rocky Mountains, and a woman nearly kicking an elk in the face while posing for a photo.
Warning: video contains bad language.
A photo posted by on
Elk are only found on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that although they may appear calm at first, they are wild animals and can be dangerous and unpredictable.
"An elk may try to kick you or chase you off if they feel threatened," says the NPS. "Grand Canyon National Park asks that people stay at least 100 feet or about two bus lengths (30 meters) from all elk. Elk can show anxiety through grinding their teeth or sending their ears back. If you come into an area with an aggressive elk that is following you or approaching you back away slowly."
The NPS also warns that approaching wildlife at National Parks is illegal, and can distress animals and interfere with their ability to survive in the wild. It's much better to watch from a safe distance to protect yourself and the animals.
For more advice, see our guides how to enjoy elk rutting season safely and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
- Best binoculars: enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance
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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).