CHEYENNE—A man reaches over a railing to pet a bison on the head in yet another example of dangerous behavior by visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
A video shows the bison stepped away from the man standing on a crowded boardwalk near a thermal area. Nobody was hurt but Yellowstone officials warned Wednesday the outcome could have been different if the animal had charged.
Similar incidents happen several times a year, sometimes with harmful results. Bison injure a handful of people in Yellowstone every year on average.
The man demonstrated “an incredible lack of judgment and common sense,” park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. “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.”
Park officials are still investigating details of the video posted online July 8, including who the man was and where and when the incident happened, Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said.
Bison in Yellowstone spend much of their time grazing and lolling on the ground, making them appear docile. They’re not, as tourists who get too close demonstrate every summer.
On July 22, a bison charged and tossed a 9-year-old Florida girl several feet into the air after tourists came within 5 to 10 feet of the animal.
The girl was treated at a nearby clinic and released. Park rangers investigated but decided not to cite anybody for that incident, Warthin said.
About 50 people had gotten close to that bison and no ranger was nearby, Warthin said.
Bison in Yellowstone injured at least two people in 2018, one in 2017 and five in 2015.
Last year’s incidents involving bison included a woman gored in the hip and a man who admitted to trying to shoo one off a road.
Park officials urge people to keep away from all large animals, even those that wander into parking lots or near trails. A safe distance, they say, is 25 yards from bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes and at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
Man Gored in Utah
A 30-year-old college student was gored and trampled by a bison while he was out on a trail run at Antelope Island State Park in Utah on June 1.
Kyler Bourgeous encountered a pair of bison after he reached the top of a blind hill while running on the Frary Peak Trail. Bourgeous immediately turned to avoid the animals but one of them came charging forward and gored the 30-year-old in the hip and shoulder, sending the young man flying into the air and down the hill.
“He said, ‘I just turned and tried to run, and I could see I wasn’t going to make it,’” his mother Bonnie Bourgeous said, reported Fox 13.
A Utah man is recovering at the University of Utah Hospital after being gored and trampled by a bison over the weekend at Antelope Island State Park. https://t.co/0Bm0qIX37t
— FOX 13 News Utah (@fox13) June 4, 2019
But the bison did not stop there. it then kicked and trampled Bourgeous, cracking his rib and cutting his head during the attack, before the bison finally stopped.
“If he had not turned just one inch this way or that way, it would have gone through his heart and lungs and lower internal organs and there’s no way he would have survived,” Bonnie added.
Bourgeous said when the attack stopped he called at some nearby hikers for help.
“I yelled for some nearby hikers to call 911 as I lay in a ball hoping the bison wouldn’t attack again,” he wrote on a crowdfunding account.
Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this article.