YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Park rangers have been saying it for years, but apparently, they need to keep reminding people: Stay away from wild animals in the park.
It might seem like common sense to some, but after a slew of reports of people coming too close to animals in our nation’s national parks (to predictably bad results), the message bears repeating: Stay away from wild animals in the park.
One visitor to ignore the warnings was a 62-year-old Australian man visiting Yellowstone who was sent to the hospital after he got to know the business end of a bison while trying to take a photo of the creature on his iPad last year, KTVQ reported.
The man had to be airlifted to a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, park officials said in a statement.
The man was not the only person to be too close to the animal, as at the time of the attack several people were reportedly crowding around the bison that was lying near a path not far from Old Faithful Lodge around 11 a.m.
The man came within 3 to 5 feet of the bison, taking photos with his iPad when the animal charged.
The 2,000 lb. animal tossed the man into the air several times before dropping him and leaving, officials said.
The incident came just two weeks after a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl was gored by a bison in the park. She was also standing a few feet away, and turned her back on the animal to have her photo taken with it when she was gored. The girl had to be hospitalized, and is now recovering.
More recently, a woman was caught on camera being charged by an elk in Yellowstone after she came too close to the animal, again, taking photos. In the video uploaded on May 29, she was standing about 25 feet away from the elk, when it knocked her to the ground. Fortunately, the woman walked away uninjured, and learned a valuable lesson.
Another highly-publicized incident at Yellowstone resulted in the death of a bison calf after a Canadian father and son put the animal in their vehicle, concerned that it was in danger from the cold. Although rangers made the two bring the calf back, it was rejected by the herd and had to be euthanized on May 16 after it continuously approached humans and began wandering on roadways.
A federal magistrate later imposed $735 in fines, fees and compensation on the man.
Yellowstone regulations prohibit visitors from approaching wildlife and say you should stay at least 25 yards away from large animals, and 100 yards away from bears and wolves, according to the National Park Service website.