Parents risk kids' lives for photos with angry bison at Yellowstone National Park

Bison at Yellowstone National Park, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

Yellowstone National Park is a fantastic destination for a family vacation, but the risks posed by wildlife and the park's geothermal features mean parents should keep a close eye on their kids at all times. They certainly shouldn't follow the example of a couple who were filmed at the park recently risking their children's safety by snapping photos of a particularly angry bison as the animal bears down on them.

The video, which was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone this week, shows a bison approaching the family in a parking lot with its tail flicking side to side – a classic sign that the animal is agitated and likely to charge. Rather than get inside their vehicle as soon as possible, the adults take this as an opportunity to snap some close-up photos.

As you can see below, this time the family was lucky and managed to escape without injury, but not everyone is so lucky. Each year, there are reports of visitors being attacked and gored by bison at US National Parks after getting too close.

Earlier this month, an 83-year-old woman was gored by a bison at Yellowstone, suffering serious injuries.

"The bison, defending its space, came within a few feet of the woman and lifted her about a foot off the ground with its horns," said a representative for the National Park Service (NPS) in a news report. The incident remains under investigation, but the NPS took the opportunity to remind visitors that they are responsible for their own safety.

Be bison aware

The NPS advises always staying at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from large herbivores like bison and elk, and 100 yards (91 meters) from wolves and bears.

"Approaching bison threatens them, and they may respond by bluff charging, head bobbing, pawing, bellowing, or snorting," says the NPS. "These are warning signs that you are too close and that a charge is imminent."

If you're planning a visit to a US National Park over the coming weeks, take a look at our guide wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters. Our list of wildlife photography tips from a pro will also come in handy, giving you expert advice to help you capture natural animal behavior while keeping you and them safe.

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.