Yellowstone Debuts A Handy Social Distancing Graphic To Help Visitors Avoid Getting Mauled And Gored By Wild Animals

by 3 weeks ago
yellowstone animal social distancing guide

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Like all national parks, the powers that be at Yellowstone have always asked visitors to play their part in preserving the environment but they also have to go to great lengths to promote a safe environment thanks to the wild animals that patrol its almost 3,500 square miles.

However, people are idiots, and when you have four million of them visit every year, you’re inevitably going to have more than a few that fall victim to their own stupidity.

A few weeks ago, an innocent bison mauled a tourist because that tourist apparently thought nothing bad can happen if you touch a wild bison. Why did they do it in the first place? I have no idea. They’re not particularly cute and it’s not like they look super soft or anything, and anyone looking for either of those qualities would have better luck rescuing a dog or taking a trip to a petting zoo.

If you didn’t click that link, you may be thinking, “Oh, it must’ve been a dumb teenager from Mississippi trying to film a TikTok.” If that’s the case, you may be surprised to learn the “victim” was a  72-year-old woman from California who does not appear to be one of those “Cool Grandmas” who got Instagram Famous by cursing and using slang words typically reserved for teens.

According to Yellowstone’s guidelines, anyone who wants to avoid her fate should “stay at least 25 yards away, move away if they approach, and run away or find cover if they charge.” An average of 15 people find themselves on the receiving end of a bison while visiting the park every year, and while it’s unclear how many of them were adhering to that recommendation, being 75 feet closer to one than you should certainly doesn’t help.

With social distancing being a virtual lock for “Word of the Year” honors, Yellowstone decided to hop aboard the bandwagon and put together a handy graphic so people who hate reading words (as well as the general public as a whole) can get a better idea of how far away to stay from both animals and fellow tourists at the park.

It’s nice to see the staff at Yellowstone isn’t scared to have a sense of humor about the dumb people responsible for both the figurative headaches they have to deal with and the literal ones that come with repeatedly slamming their head on a desk in frustration. I know the one about waving is supposed to be a lighthearted joke, but at the same time, they’re basically having a laugh at the expense of anyone who has no one to blame but themselves if they get trampled to death.

As much as I appreciate that graphic, a quick look at videos of people at Yellowstone making ill-advised decisions made me kind of depressed and pissed off at visitors who treat it as if it was their own lousy backyard. After watching this—which is not a snuff video ripped from LiveLeak but something the park uploaded on its official channel— part of me feels like we shouldn’t let anyone visit national parks at all.

The reason bison are considered the Yellowstone’s most dangerous animal is due entirely to people who refuse to obey the rules because they interfere with their ability to take a fun picture for the ‘Gram. It doesn’t make any sense. Old Faithful will get you more likes anyway (just don’t get too close unless you want your skin to melt off of your body. That’ll make you wish you got a bison horn to the groin instead).

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TAGSAnimalsBisonnatureoutdoorsyellowstone national park