Do Yellowstone Visitors Lack Respect for Wildlife or Just Common Sense?

posted on July 13, 2016

Reports out of Yellowstone National Park prove that visitors may be entering the park without one very important tool: common sense.

In the first instance, which was widely reported by various national news outlets, visitors from outside the U.S. determined that a wild animal, in this case a young bison calf, was in danger of being cold and decided to take it upon themselves to bring it to the attention of park officials. Now, one would assume, in this case wrongly, that most people are aware that wild animals live in the wild and thus are capable of surviving wild conditions. The tourists in question, however, not only decided help was necessary, but came to the conclusion that the bison calf needed to be immediately “rescued” and placed the calf in their SUV in order to deliver it to the warm hands of park officials.

Of course, park officials were immediately dismayed and attempted to take the bison calf back to the area where it was found in hopes of reuniting it with other bison. That move, however, proved futile and the decision was eventually made to put the animal down. In their ever-expanding desire to help “defenseless” wildlife, regardless of their lack of knowledge, the actions of park goers may have directly resulted in the death of the calf they intended to “save.”

The second instance surrounds a recent video propagating youtube in which another Yellowstone visitor had a way-too-close encounter while trying to take a “selfie” photo with a cow elk. The video shows a female tourist getting a little too close for comfort in her quest to frame up the cow elk, which reportedly had a young calf nearby. The visitor learned the hard way that wild animals are indeed wild when the mother elk abruptly charged the woman, sending her to the ground. Fortunately, the woman wasn’t harmed, though the video leaves the impression her ego didn’t fare as well.


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