A group of tourists at Yellowstone National Park almost learned a lesson about wildlife safety the hard way when they crowded around a large bison that climbed onto a boardwalk to cross the park.
In a video shared by Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone (opens in new tab), which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks, most of the visitors can be seen backing away from the animal at first, but when it doesn't immediately attack, they pull close, with a group of women walking right alongside it.
A post shared by TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) (opens in new tab)
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This bison was exceptionally patient, but bison are extremely heavy, powerful animals that should be treated with respect and given plenty of space. They can be particularly dangerous and unpredictable during their mating season (known as the rut) which takes place in late summer and early fall.
People often underestimate bison (which led Yellowstone to publish a poster this summer advising visitors not to pet the fluffy cows). Although usually docile, they can be dangerous, and are responsible for more wildlife-related injuries at the park than any other animal, including bears and snakes.
According to a 2019 study by Utah State University (opens in new tab), bison injured 56 people and killed two in Yellowstone between 1978 and 1992. A further 25 people were injured between 2000 and 2015. Ten of those were thrown into the air, nine were headbutted, six were gored, and almost half required hospitalization as a result.
Approaching bison at National Parks is prohibited, and Yellowstone advises visitors (opens in new tab) to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away at all times. If you do find yourself in close quarters with one, a raised tail, pawing at the ground, grunting, and bluff charges are all signs that the animal is aggravated and wants you to leave. For more advice, check out out guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.
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).
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