Man Exits Car to Taunt Bison at Yellowstone National Park — and the Alarming Incident Is Caught on Tape
"The individual's behavior in this video is reckless, dangerous, and illegal," a Yellowstone rep told PEOPLE
“Oh no, oh no.”
That’s Lindsey Jones, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park who shared a video earlier this week of a man exiting his car and taunting a bison — who isn’t appreciative of his advances.
The incident reportedly occurred along the park’s Grand Loop in the Hayden Valley. The area is known for animal sightings, and aside from bison, is home to elk, grizzly bears and a host of smaller creatures.
In the clip above, the man makes arm gestures at the bison, who eventually charges. “I can’t watch!” Jones yells as she turns the camera. But the man isn’t deterred, antagonizing the animal one more time before it decides to walk away, back off the road and into the woods.
Other tourists are heard on the video yelling at the man to stop and reassuring the angry animal. It’s one of several human/bison incidents on record at Yellowstone in past years; in May, a 72-year-old woman was rammed by a bison near Old Faithful (she was treated for minor injuries), and in 2016, a father and son came under fire for putting a baby bison in their car to “keep it warm.” The animal was eventually euthanized, as rangers couldn’t successfully reunite the calf with its herd.
A representative for Yellowstone told PEOPLE via email that the new incident is currently under investigation.
“The individual’s behavior in this video is reckless, dangerous, and illegal. We need people to be stewards of Yellowstone, and one way to do that is to keep your distance from wildlife,” said superintendent Dan Wenk.
The Yellowstone website clearly states rules for human-animal interaction, telling tourists to “never approach animals” and “never park in the road or block traffic” — two guidelines broken by the man in the clip above. The website also warns guests to stay at least 25 yards away from bison and elk, as the animals are “wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car.”
“People who ignore these rules are risking their lives and threatening the park experience for everyone else,” said Superintendent Wenk.
A section of the Yellowstone website specifically on bison states that the animals “have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans.” It’s serious stuff: according to the New York Times, when visitors enter the park, they’re handed a bright yellow flier that “depicts a person getting gored by a bison.”
In 2015, the National Park Service had to release a warning to visitors trying to take selfies with bison, crediting the trend with an uptick in bison attacks on humans.