A visitor to Yellowstone National Park has captured the moment a huge bull elk rammed right into a Ranger's car. The incident took place at Mammoth Hot Springs, where the animals often gather to feed on the irrigated lawns.
A video of the incident was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which usually highlights examples of bad behavior at US National Parks (such as tourists poking moose and chasing bears) but sometimes posts photos and videos this this for informational purposes.
The clip, which you can watch below, was captured during rutting season in the fall, when bulls compete for dominance and the right to mate, and are much more aggressive than usual.
It's not clear whether the Ranger's vehicle was damaged, but elk are powerful animals whose antlers are capable of inflicting serious harm. In October 2020, a man was badly injured by an elk at Estes Park, Colorado, when the animal charged him, lacerating his kidney. As local news site Cowboy State Daily reported at the time, doctors told the injured man that the elk's dirty antlers meant it would have been safer if he'd been stabbed with a knife.
A photo posted by on
The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that they are responsible for their own safety at the park, and that wild animals are unpredictable. Even if they seem calm at first, their temperament can change at the drop of a hat.
"Do not approach or feed any animal," the NPS says. "Bison and elk have injured people. Stay 100 yards (91m) from bears and wolves. Stay 25 yards (23m) from all other animals."
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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.