Yellowstone tourists flee for their lives, chased by irate mother elk

Cow elk and calf in field touching noses
(Image credit: Getty)

A pair of tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park have been caught on camera sprinting for safety after getting on the wrong side of a protective mother elk. The pair were apparently got too close for comfort while trying to take photos of her newborn calf, causing her to charge.

The incident was captured by Tyler Reid, who spotted the pair through a window at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. The video (which you can watch below) was then shared by Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out examples of bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty.

Other recent close calls have included an elk biting a boy's fingers as he fed it, a person trying to pet a bison while taking selfies, and a man who has been seen three times chasing bears while making gorilla noises.

Cow elk are fiercely protective of their young, and people have been seriously hurt after getting too close. In June 2018, two people suffered severe injuries at Yellowstone after being knocked to the ground and kicked by cows defending their calves.

It's important to never approach young animals, even if they seem to be alone. Last year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) published a notice warning people to keep their distance, even if a baby elk or deer seems to be alone.

"Newborn fawns are actually frequently alone and isolated during their first weeks of life – and that's on purpose," said Dax Mangus, big game coordinator at Utah DWR. "The mother knows that leaving the fawn alone is the best way to protect it from predators."

Interfering with wildlife can have tragic consequences for both people and animals. Last week, Park Rangers at Yellowstone announced they were investigating an incident where someone put an elk calf in their car and drove it to a nearby police station.

"The elk later ran off into the forest,” officials said. “The condition of the elk is unknown."

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.