A man visiting Yellowstone National Park has been filmed approaching dangerously close to a grazing elk, turning his back, and holding a baby out towards the animal for a photo.
The incident was recorded by another park visitor, who wrongly identified the animal as a moose while also standing much too close. The resulting video was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out bad behavior at US National Parks.
A photo posted by on
Elk attacks are rare, but they do happen and sometimes result in serious injury. In 2020 a man was gored by an elk on a Colorado golf course, and in 2019 two people were injured in an elk attack in the town of Estes Park.
In 2018, two people were hospitalized after being attacked by a particularly protective cow elk at Yellowstone.
"The elk reportedly reared up and kicked [the victim] multiple times with its front legs, hitting her head, torso, and back," the National Park Service said in a statement after one of the attacks.
Elk are at their most impressive during the rut, and it's spectacular to witness if you're careful and respect the animals' space. If you're planning to check it out later this year, take a look at our guide how to enjoy elk rutting season safely.
The NPS advises staying at least 25 yards (23 meters) from elk at all times. If you're not sure what that looks like, hold out your arm, close one eye, and give the elk a thumbs-up. If you can't hide the whole animal behind your thumb, you need to back up. It's wisest to appreciate them from the safety of your car, or use a pair of binoculars or a long lens.
- The best binoculars: our top recommendations for wildlife and astronomy
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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.