Tourist takes carelessness to another level, squatting on the ground for photos with bison at Yellowstone National Park

Bison charging
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tourists often court danger by getting too close to bison at Yellowstone National Park, but one visitor has been caught taking it to another level (quite literally) by squatting in the tall grass to pose for selfies with one of the animals.

The incident was caught on camera by David Spady and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone this week. As we enter hiking season, it serves as a timely reminder to give wildlife plenty of space to avoid causing them distress, or provoking them. 

Each year, there are reports of people being seriously injured by bison after getting too close, and in 2023, two women were gored by bison within the space of a week at US National Parks. Both survived, but were hospitalized with serious abdominal injuries.

Bison might bear a passing resemblance to domestic cattle, but they are seriously powerful and their behavior can change in an instant if they think that they or their young are in danger. As the National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors, "The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be."

Visitors are warned to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from bison at all times, and Park Rangers recommend watching these magnificent animals from the safety of a vehicle.

Approaching, distracting, or touching wildlife at National Parks is illegal, and punishable by a fine or jail time. Last year a well-meaning visitor was fined after trying to help a newborn bison calf that had become separated from its herd. The man, Clifford Walters of Hawaii, pushed the calf up from a river bank, but it was rejected by the other animals and Rangers took the difficult decision to euthanize it after it began approaching people and cars.

A spokesperson for the park explained that some calves do die, but it's part of the natural cycle of life, and provides food for other animals.

"Those deaths will benefit other animals by feeding everything from bears and wolves to birds and insects," the spokesperson said on Twitter. "Allowing this cycle of life to play out aligns most closely with the stewardship responsibility entrusted to us by the American people."

For more guidance, take a look at our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison, and wildlife safety: eight tips for surprise 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.