August 2019 bison petting

No, Yellowstone is Not a Petting Zoo

A viral video shows a tourist petting a Yellowstone National Park bison, but despite the uneventful outcome, officials warn that Park wildlife is still dangerous, and an approach like this could be deadly.

National Park Service officials are investigating exactly what happened in this video, where a crowd of tourists came upon a bison next to a boardwalk in a crowded area. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement that the actions showed “an incredible lack of judgment and common sense. Not only did he put himself and others at risk, he violated regulations designed to keep these animals wild. We expect better from our visitors.”

Incidents involving wildlife at Yellowstone are not uncommon. After several Yellowstone wildlife incidents involving black bears, National Park Service officials are asking visitors to exercise more caution when handling food at campsites. In July a nine-year-old girl was injured in a Yellowstone bison incident, part of a larger event that saw a group of approximately 50 people being far too close to a bull bison near Observation Point Trail in the Old Faithful Geyser area.

Yellowstone guidelines call for visitors to stay 25 yards away from all large animals–bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes–and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

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