Do not shoot selfies with the wildlife
July 23, 2015 3:08 PM   Subscribe

 
Stupid tourist is as stupid tourist does.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:13 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Humans really are the worst.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:13 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best part is the public shaming of the selfie-takers via their Instagram accounts.
posted by altersego at 3:16 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yup, last time I was in Shenandoah National Park, there were two bear cubs in a tree by the road. People were taking selfies about 20 feet away. Momma bear wasn't around, and those idiots weren't thinking about what might happen when she came back.
posted by peeedro at 3:17 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


eventually the animal reaches its breaking point and charges people.

Its $20 for just one with me, $50 if you want the cubs as well.
posted by biffa at 3:19 PM on July 23, 2015 [100 favorites]


On May 15, a 16-year-old Taiwanese exchange student similarly turned her back on a bison to pose for a group photo when the even-toed ungulate took umbrage

Someone had fun writing this article.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:21 PM on July 23, 2015 [56 favorites]


What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
posted by pipeski at 3:23 PM on July 23, 2015


This bit in particular just makes the "har har look at me!" element of people thinking rules don't apply to them even more depressing:
“Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times,” according to the National Park Service. “A number of Native American tribes especially revere Yellowstone’s bison as pure descendants of the vast herds that once roamed the grasslands of the United States. The largest bison population in the country on public land resides in Yellowstone. It is one of the few herds free of cattle genes.”
Plus, I just want to shout at these people, "You are a guest, in THEIR house!"
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:25 PM on July 23, 2015 [23 favorites]


In 1998, a quick-witted park employee avoided a mass goring by playing dead. Kariann King was on a nature walk with three seven-year-old boys when two bison — pelted with rocks by other park visitors — thundered their way. King instructed the kids to lay on the ground and play dead until another park employee nudged the bison out of the way with a pickup truck, according to the AP.
posted by jayder at 3:25 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I sorta feel like after they've been gored, then treated and released, they should be arrested.
posted by aramaic at 3:27 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

Bison are Bison while buffalo are Syncerus.

American bison, of course, are Bison bison. And the Plains bison variety is Bison bison bison, apparently.
posted by Lexica at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


The photo of the woman with the pink hair is not a selfie. She's clearly not part of the problem.
posted by fremen at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Beware the war bison, shiny and chrome!

rangers...began shooting the most aggressive bison — with paint balls... “intended to … [teach] human beings to associate chrome buffalo with a high probability of being gored"
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


I grew up near the Park. Nothing, nothing scares me about being in the Park like the bison do. Everybody is scared of bears, but you don't get a giant yellow flyer when entering the Park about the dangers of bears. If I find freshish grizzly scat on the trail, I'll be super alert but won't deviate. Enter a meadow full of bison? Fuck yeah I deviate as far as possible. They're just too unpredictable.

Every time I go, I see idiots. Idiots stopping right in the middle of the road to take photos. Idiots wearing the worst possible shoes in thermal areas and near/on steep cliff sides. And idiots, idiots everywhere, trying to take pics of themselves in front of bison or creeping up to bison or fucking trying to feed the bison. Despite the signs and the flyers and the exhibit at Canyon about bison they're always out there doing this. It's one of the few times in my life that I wish I had invented my Steri-laser so that I could make sure they don't breed.

THAT SAID. . . . like most gov't programs the park budget has steadily been slashed; meanwhile the number of park visitors have steadily increased, including setting a record last year, all over the U.S. It does take a little work to interact with visitors to help educate them about dangers. It does not surprise me that gorings have increased -I wouldn't be surprised if there was a link between the what, 12% decline in funding over the last 5 years alone (IIRC?) and more visitors being hurt in our national parks.
posted by barchan at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


When I was a kid my family visited Yellowstone. Despite being given pamphlets with a drawing of someone being attacked by a bison by park staff and there being signs everywhere about not approaching the animals, we still saw people hopping out of their cars to get close-up shots of them.

And that wasn't even the dumbest thing I saw; one day we were hanging out in our campsite and heard a hubbub down the way. Turns out a mother bear and two or three cubs had wandered into the edge of the camp, and people were getting their fucking kids to pose for a photo in front of the cubs. I don't know much about bear body language, but Mama Bear was clearly on edge and my parents hustled us away as soon as they realized what was going on. Fortunately park staff showed up very quickly and got everyone the fuck out of there before anyone (including the bears, who I think were successfully shooed off) was hurt, but FFS...did those morons think those wild fucking animals were tame, or robots like the Country Bears?
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:31 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


American bison, of course, are Bison bison. And the Plains bison variety is Bison bison bison, apparently.

Bison bison Bison bison bison bison Bison bison?
posted by brennen at 3:31 PM on July 23, 2015 [25 favorites]


Bison live on Santa Catalina Island, put there in the 1920s for a movie shoot. If you go hiking, you occasionally run into them. In the past, I've thrown rocks at bison to scare them off the trail.

It honestly never occurred to me that I might've gotten gored or fucked up by a pissed-off bison. Lucky young man.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:35 PM on July 23, 2015


People have pretty much always been this dumb. Shouldn't we be seeing this kind of thing on Periscope or something soon?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:35 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Q: What did the parents say after getting their boy to pose for a photo next to the buffalo?

A: "Bison."
posted by memento maury at 3:38 PM on July 23, 2015 [43 favorites]


Momma bear wasn't around, and those idiots weren't thinking about what might happen when she came back.

I'll tell you what would have happened: Momma bear would have eventually been shot for being "dangerous to people" (if she hadn't been shot already for simply existing, which is why she wasn't around).
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:38 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


As if they didn't have it hard enough with the tourist selfies, Yellowstone bison are regularly hazed, abused and slaughtered while migrating outside of the park. This fine organization tries to prevent that from happening: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
posted by altersego at 3:39 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Holy shit...from the first page of the book in entropicamericana's link:

"It is a mystery why anyone would dive headfirst into a Yellowstone hot spring merely to save a dog, but that is precisely what happened on July 20, 1981..."
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:40 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Stupid tourist is as stupid tourist does.

Relevant: The Revolt Against Tourism [New York Times]
Outraged by tourists’ boorish and disrespectful behavior, and responding to the complaints of their constituents, local officials around the world have begun to crack down on tourism, and the tourism industry, even in the face of opposition from their national governments, which want the tax revenue from tourists.
As someone who works in the hospitality industry (here in Niagara Falls, ON Canada), I can see why local officials are considering these types of restrictions on travelling to certain locales, visiting during specific times of the day, etc. I've seen my fair share of idiot tourists and what they do when they're in your city.
posted by Fizz at 3:41 PM on July 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


Shouldn't we be seeing this kind of thing on Periscope or something soon?

LIVE on #Periscope: Imma get gored by a bison
posted by univac at 3:41 PM on July 23, 2015


Yet another example of how your impulse toward narcissism may not actually be in your best interest.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:41 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


LIVE on #Periscope: Imma get gored by a bison

Hashtag #IMANIDIOT
posted by Fizz at 3:45 PM on July 23, 2015


I went to Yellowstone as part of a family trip when I was about twelve or thirteen. Before we set out, my dad presented me with a charming paperback entitled Deaths in Yellowstone and insisted that we all read it before we left. I remember reading through the stories of animal attacks and deaths of gormless tourists who pulled shit like smearing jam on the face of a toddler and holding it up to a bear for a photo and being absolutely flabbergasted, because how could anyone be quite that clueless about wild animals?

For whatever reason, that stuck with me much more strongly than anything but the fellow Card Cheat just mentioned. (The dog in question was a Great Dane! You were never going to be able to rescue it!)
posted by sciatrix at 3:46 PM on July 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

Bison are Bison while buffalo are Syncerus.

American bison, of course, are Bison bison. And the Plains bison variety is Bison bison bison, apparently.


The answer I was looking for was "you can't wash your hands in a buffalo".

But thanks, your answer was informative.
posted by pipeski at 3:49 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


The answer I was looking for was "you can't wash your hands in a buffalo".

And you can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:51 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Stupid tourist is as stupid tourist does.

I think it's important to have some compassion. Yes, tourists really are stupid (I live right on the edge of the tourist part of town, and cruise ships deliver 250,000 people to the cruise ship docks in my neighbourhood), but it's not their fault. Or our fault.

Most of us are going to be tourists someplace at least once a year. There's something that happens to people when they become tourists. Some turns off this their/our brains and they/we do stupid things.

I know this because if I want to walk up to the bank in summertime I have to literally navigate crowds of tourists, who stand in the street snapping photos and so on.

But once they return home presumably they behave with more common sense.

But you are like that, too. I am like that, too. We're all like that.

Woman got gored by a bison. Not funny.
posted by Nevin at 3:52 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


As someone who works in the hospitality industry (here in Niagara Falls, ON Canada)

As someone lives in Niagara Falls, NY PLEASE send the tourists over here when you're through with 'em. If you're having trouble clinching the deal tell them we now have an TGI Fridays and a Rainforest Cafe!
posted by bitterpants at 3:54 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone lives in Niagara Falls, NY PLEASE send the tourists over here when you're through with 'em. If you're having trouble clinching the deal tell them we now have an TGI Fridays and a Rainforest Cafe!

I feel for you bitterpants, the Canadian side has far more development in the way of restaurants, hotels, rides/attractions, museums, casinos, etc. Niagara Falls, ON has been trying to establish themselves as a kind of mini-family-oriented-Vegas the past few years. But we're hurting our own image because this town is unfortunately earning a reputation as a place where you are nickel-&-dimed to death with tiny fees that add up to quite a bit.
posted by Fizz at 3:57 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Has anyone alerted the Darwin Awards people?
posted by Anne Neville at 3:58 PM on July 23, 2015


Feel free to search my comment history for how stupid Yellowstone tourists are. Seriously, I've said it several times, several times too many actually because it should be common fucking sense that you don't approach the animals and "No, the rangers do not put the animals away after dark." level question.

After working there a measly 2 summers I have more reminders of the fact than I care to recall.

Humanity, Americans at least (although I've seen Europeans and Japanese tourists act nearly as bad nearly as often), generally gets what it deserves. These folks are paying the toll for the race in general. I wish I could feel bad for them.... but I don't.
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:59 PM on July 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


"No, the rangers do not put the animals away after dark." level question.

TOURIST VISITING NIAGARA FALLS: "What time at night do you turn off the falls at night? Do the pipes freeze in the winter?"
ME: *sighs heavily*
posted by Fizz at 4:01 PM on July 23, 2015 [22 favorites]


Yep, same question but replace 'falls' with 'Old Faithful'. Also they would ask if OF would still be erupting even if the electricity was out...
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:03 PM on July 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


I saw this on Facebook earlier, and I was going to reply, "What's next, cobra selfies?" but decided to google first, and yup, that's so last year.
posted by gimli at 4:11 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, and I'm leaving after this, cue the public service announcement portion of RoE's night:

If you go to YNP with your furry pet, keep it on a leash 100% of the time. Yes, you. No, your dog is not voice trained well enough. No, it's not NPS being politically correct or legally covering their ass. It's because of boiling/near-boiling water features that pets, and people that tried to save them, have died in because of a bad decision, a love of water, a misstep, or a dropped leash.

I'm not one of those 'put your kids on a leash' type parents, but I'd consider it very strongly if I were visiting front country/board walk thermal features with a kid too young to do geometry.

Yellowstone is a wonderful, magical place. It's also no place to screw around in... and not just because bison.

ps - memail me anytime if you need/want trip planning advice. I'm expert level experienced w/r/t the park and some of the surround areas as long as you're talking about natural things and not hotels and such, it has been a few years after all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2015 [47 favorites]


Frankly after reading that book and learning about the deaths of both dogs and human children when they fell in the hot springs, I would leash any child younger than eight if I took them to the springs. boiling springs do not make a good death.
posted by sciatrix at 4:17 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


On May 15, a 16-year-old Taiwanese exchange student similarly turned her back on a bison to pose for a group photo when the even-toed ungulate took umbrage

Someone had fun writing this article.


Two words came instantly to my mind at that sentence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:17 PM on July 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Shooting the most aggressive bison with paintball guns...is that what we call diplomacy?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:27 PM on July 23, 2015


My wife had a friend who worked at in the Olde-Timey Towne section of Old Fort William (where they had people making candles and dressed in period garb, etc.) when they were in high school. One day a couple of tourists approached her and told her "You don't have to live like this. We can get you out of here."
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:27 PM on July 23, 2015 [130 favorites]


Watch out for the creepy-crawlies, too. This fellow wanted a selfie with a rattlesnake. Scary photos.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:30 PM on July 23, 2015


My wife had a friend who worked at in the Olde-Timey Towne section of Old Fort William (where they had people making candles and dressed in period garb, etc.) when they were in high school. One day a couple of tourists approached her and told her "You don't have to live like this. We can get you out of here."

This is the best thing I have read all week.
posted by brennen at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


eventually the animal reaches its breaking point and charges people.

Moo-croaggressions.
posted by Etrigan at 4:42 PM on July 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Actually, RoE, I would go as far as to say just don't take a dog to YNP. It HAS to be on a 6 foot leash - it is a park regulation and rangers will ticket you. They're not allowed on trails or boardwalks, which means you can only walk them within a certain distance of campgrounds and parking lots. Even at that elevation it can get too hot to leave them in the car, thus potentially ruining experiencing the park as very few places can be seen only from a parking area. Considering the amount of wildlife that pays no attention to the difference between a parking lot and a forest, you could be inviting an interaction even with a leash, particularly with bears, wolves, and moose, all of which hate dogs. (People have been killed by grizzlies in campgrounds in and around the park- even though dogs are allowed in those localities, it's prudent to not lug that kind of invitation around with you.)

I love my dogs, but it's just a pain to bring them there (including having to bring vaccination records with up to date vaccinations) - we're all happier if I don't bring them.
posted by barchan at 4:58 PM on July 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Turns out a mother bear and two or three cubs had wandered into the edge of the camp, and people were getting their fucking kids to pose for a photo in front of the cubs.

And no one ever heard from them again?
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:02 PM on July 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


For you, the day Bison ruined your selfie was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:08 PM on July 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


I would go as far as to say just don't take a dog to YNP.

And I would totally agree. I spoke as I did to for the benefit of those folks who just. are. not. going. to. travel. without Fido and Snupperkins or Ralph and Sam or Elsa or whatever. Or those who are on a family trip and are just passing thru YNP as they see other things.

You're completely right: YNP is best seen sans furry ones. I saw a fair bit of them while I was there though, mostly in campgrounds but also in thermal areas/boardwalks and even the back country. Rangers can't be everywhere so I guess they were getting away with it, either obliviously or blatantly.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:09 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm reminded of the Yosemite ranger who said on the difficulty of designing bear-proof trash receptacles that weren't too hard for tourists to use (leading to them throwing it on the ground in frustration) something to the effect of: "well, there's a much larger overlap between the smartest bears and the dumbest humans than you might imagine".
posted by junco at 5:14 PM on July 23, 2015 [109 favorites]


Also, stay the hell away from wild horses.
posted by Tenuki at 5:19 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


"well, there's a much larger overlap between the smartest bears and the dumbest humans than you might imagine".

"Hey! I've got an idea! Let's get up close and personal with momma and her cubs!"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:22 PM on July 23, 2015


Videos of this stuff abound by the way. In this one for example, the dad... I'm pretty sure he's smiling the whole time.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:24 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I salute the men and women of the National Park Service. One season on that job and my misanthropy would go full Chernobyl and one day you'd see me on trial for feeding people and their tasty little kids to the cougars and grey wolves.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:27 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Pretty much my sentiment, too, after the videos in those last two links, George_Spiggott. Good Lord.
posted by junco at 5:30 PM on July 23, 2015


Although I missed Tenuki's link, which has now cheered me up!
posted by junco at 5:32 PM on July 23, 2015


Hopefully more of this happens:

Bear feeding caught on video in Banff leads to $1,000 fine

Fizz: TOURIST VISITING NIAGARA FALLS: "What time at night do you turn off the falls at night? Do the pipes freeze in the winter?"
ME: *sighs heavily*


TOURIST FROM ANOTHER STATE VISITING NYC: "How can Manhattan float on the river? Why doesn't it sink?"
ME, TOURIST ALSO: "Well, Manhattan sits on bedrock, and so does the river. Actually, the water's sitting on top of land, not the other way around"
TOURIST: "How do you know that sir? Are you a geologist?"
ME: "No, I'm a Canadian."

Same trip, as we're leaving the observation deck of the Empire State Building and getting into the elevator.

TOURIST: "Is this the elevator down?"
ME, ALSO TOURIST: "Well, it can't go anywhere else now, can it?"
TOURIST [offended]: "Well, I'm not familiar with it."

#notalltourists
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:39 PM on July 23, 2015 [38 favorites]


When I was looking for a farm the realtor was late so boy I and started exploring the barn and I went up in the loft and he went out in the pasture. It was a rolling mountain pasture where you couldn't see too far.

"Dad! The cows have horns!" I looked out and my six year old was indeed being charged by 9 cows with horns and 3 horses. They were moving faster than I thought cows could move. The cows were actually keeping up with the horses. They surrounded him and had expectant looks. I told him to sit down. Obviously they were expecting some kind of treat and I didn't want that to be a boy's head so I started digging around in the barn until I found a bag of dried apples. They were poking him and sniffing him by then.

After we found a farm, I told all the neighbors they were welcome to come look at the Alpacas anytime but not to get in with them. Some people didn't listen.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:41 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Tenuki's link led me to this, which came up as a related video...When Horses ATTACK.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

Twenty bucks, same as in town.
posted by briank at 5:59 PM on July 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think also some people underestimate the danger of large herbivores. Remember the factoid about more people are killed by hippos than lions or tigers or crocodiles. (I think this is partly just because there are more hippos, but still.) Just because it won't try to eat you doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.

I love the video of the bison charging the car, because you can see it coming straight for them for 20 seconds.
posted by RobotHero at 6:13 PM on July 23, 2015


Remember the factoid about more people are killed by hippos than lions or tigers or crocodiles. (I think this is partly just because there are more hippos, but still.)

It's mainly because it's much harder to know when you've threatened a hippo by, for example, getting between a mother (who may be completely invisible to you, submerged and/or hidden behind aquatic plants) and her offspring (also submerged and/or hidden behind aquatic plants). Basically one minute you're padding your boat through hippo waters and the next a few tons of hippo have surged outen the water and kilt your ass. You're in their world, not yours, and you may not have the slightest idea what's going on a few boat lengths away.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:25 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Buffalo Bison bison bison Buffalo Bison bison bison buffalo buffalo Buffalo Bison bison bison.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:26 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


When we were in Sri Lanka's Yala National Park, the tour guide specifically warned us not to get out of the jeep even if there were "only" (wild) water-buffaloes; in his words, even "leopards are afraid of them".

I can only imagine how much more dangerous bisons would be.
posted by the cydonian at 6:51 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


is it wrong that I love it when humans behave disrespectfully or cruelly toward nonhuman animals and end up getting seriously injured or killed? I feel not even the slightest tremor of sympathy for these imbeciles ...
posted by jayder at 7:13 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I grew up in a tourist town (the deer do not, at any time of the year, turn into elk, thank you), and I do have a little sympathy for the tourists.

It's easy to not have the correct instincts when you've never been in an environment before. Rip tides in the ocean, bears in the wild, eye contact on the subway...
posted by underflow at 7:22 PM on July 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


We went to Olympic National Park in spring 2014 for a family trip. On the hike in Hurricane Ridge high country, the entrance to the trail had big signs about staying on the trail to protect the plant life, and that there were aggressive deer and sheep in the area, so never get nearer than 200 feet to wildlife, and never approach them. If they approach you, slowly get away. We note the signs and hike, and come upon a gorgeous meadow filled with new sprouted green grass and a patch of snow with a bunch of does and fawns resting on it...and a group of 2 adults and 6 children who have gone 600 yards off the trail, onto the snow patch, and are having a picnic (like blanket out, basket open, plates out with food and forks). The kids start throwing snowballs. The deer freak the hell out and run away.

My husband, Klang, is wearing a tan cowboy hat, aviator sunglasses, beard, Army surplus green shirt, tan pants, and hiking boots. We stop on the trail, immediately next to where they went off trail (ironically, next to a sign that reminds "Don't approach deer"). He's carrying a walking stick and a forest green backpack. He's very loud. He shouts at them, "Get back on the trail! Stop scaring the deer! You are not supposed to be near the wildlife!"

One of the adults starts shouting back and they carry on for a bit that way; the guy on the snow thinks it's OK to do whatever, also, no one should shout at children. Klang points out that he is shouting at the adults, because the adults should know best, and the kids are incidentally only hearing the yelling because of the adults' poor choices. I start shouting at the snow-throwers to come back to the trail. So does my brother-in-law. So do some randoms who were also hiking who have stopped with us.

At this point one girl walks out from the snowbank back to the trail. She is about 9, and she is completely sobbing. Her tshirt collar is soaked with tears. "I'm so sorry to go off the trail. I didn't want to hurt the deer. I didn't want to scare the deer," she wails. "I didn't know. They just wanted to go out and I thought it was OK. I am so sorry."

Everyone starts taking turns comforting her and shouting at the other idiots to come the hell out of the snowbank. Finally her family packs up and comes out and collects the 9 year old. The shouting guy approaches Klang with anger in his eyes, sees Klang up close and blanches and shuts up, and the family heads down the trail. We were all het up from Winning at Society By Shouting and walked all the way to the top of the mountain and saw a giant Olympic marmot.

Later we realized: They thought he was a park ranger because of his clothes. So if you too want to intimidate strangers into leaving animals alone in national parks, and also make 9 year old girls cry, try wearing earth tones.
posted by holyrood at 7:27 PM on July 23, 2015 [42 favorites]


is it wrong that I love it when humans behave disrespectfully or cruelly toward nonhuman animals and end up getting seriously injured or killed?

Well, yes, because A) in your scenario there was disrespect or cruelty shown to the animals, which can't have been very nice for them and I don't imagine they enjoy feeling threatened by these bizarre bipeds with the weird smells and incomprehensible motivations and having to attack them in self defense; and B) this is often followed by a kill order coming down for the animal, and some poor ranger having to grit his or her teeth and do it when it is in fact the very opposite of what he or she signed on for.

So yeah, while there's grim justice in the fact that in the wild it is actually possible to die of being an asshole -- which, considered in the abstract, is surely how things ought to be -- there's not really a lot to celebrate about how it goes down.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:34 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


When I lived in Montana (late 90s), a Japanese tourist put her kid on the back of a baby bison in order to take a picture. That did not end well.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


In 1998, a quick-witted park employee avoided a mass goring by playing dead. Kariann King was on a nature walk with three seven-year-old boys when two bison — pelted with rocks by other park visitors — thundered their way. King instructed the kids to lay on the ground and play dead until another park employee nudged the bison out of the way with a pickup truck, according to the AP.
posted by jayder at 3:25 PM on July 23 [1 favorite +] [!]


Is playing dead usually a good strategy when dealing with an animal like a bison or bull? I had never heard of that.
posted by Sleeper at 8:16 PM on July 23, 2015


We went to Yellowstone last year and had a great time, but we stayed very clear of the Bison. They're seriously scary.

The stupidest thing we witnessed was some idiot throwing food at one from a few feet away. We were in our car and the Bison herd had stopped traffic. This particular one had decided to walk directly in front of our car. Part of me was hoping it would gore the food throwing idiot, and part of me didn't want a few thousand pounds of angry Bison ramming my six month old car.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:24 PM on July 23, 2015


One of the most scariest experiences I've ever had in my life involved bison. I was travelling with an old boss to a worksite when we saw, on a remote stretch, a rental car stopped on the side of the highway and a herd of bison mingling nearby. (The latter's not unusual - it's a wooded area, bison use the side of the highway for easy grazing.)

We stopped and got out of the truck, because my boss "had a feeling". He was right: there was a family of tourists walking in and among the bison trying to feed them, so help me god, potato chips. This was mid-summer, so the herd included calves. In the spirit of avoiding a massacre we walked over as closely and as quietly as we dared, gesticulating very slowly that they should get back in their car right now. It took one or two of the tensest minutes of my life before we finally caught their attention and, laughing, they jogged back to the car.

We had a lot of beer after work that night.
posted by ZaphodB at 8:30 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is playing dead usually a good strategy when dealing with an animal like a bison or bull?
posted by Sleeper


Eponys... no.

Playing dead is one of your better options with aggressive herd animals who can easily outrun you over any territory and who don't really want to kill you, let alone eat you: they just want you to stop being a threat. It probably doesn't in any sense fool them: most large mammals understand submission on an instinctive level; it means you're not a threat anymore. Hopefully they'll just nudge you around with a hoof and blow through their nostrils a bit as they settle down and then leave you alone.

Playing dead isn't a great idea with black bears, which would be happy to eat you. Hard to say with wolves, they really don't want to attack humans outright and will try almost anything else first, so when one attacks it's almost by definition acting out of character and playing dead probably won't work. Big up and be as threatening as you can manage, make a lot of noise and swing as big a stick as you can get hold of as wildly as you can.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:40 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you go to YNP with your furry pet, keep it on a leash 100% of the time. Yes, you.

Agreed, and expanded to "if you go anywhere". No you aren't the world's best animal handler. No your dog is not the most obedient dog that ever existed. Shit happens. Bank on shit happening every single time. Leash your dog everywhere you go.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:48 PM on July 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


"And you can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd"

But you can be happy if you've a mind to!

Personally, I steer clear of cranky-looking ducks and particularly noisy squirrels. I can't imagine what leads someone to intentionally interact with wildlife larger than a raccoon. Everything bigger than that can rip your face off, charge you, trample you, or just outright eat you. No thanks.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:51 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not so much a tourist story, although I was visiting nature, so in a sense...

Anyway, I was fishing with my uncle in Alaska, right about this time of year. Salmon are spawning/running up the Russian river, anglers are shoulder to shoulder vying for the fish. My uncle and I are on a side stream trout fishing when we hear gun shots. My uncle, having lived in Alaska for over 40 years, says we need to leave and go back to the truck. A few minutes later we come upon a Park Ranger/Fish and Wildlife who said a momma and cubs were down on the Russian. Those words had just come out of her mouth when the two cubs come out of the brush 30 feet away but across the stream.

You move smoothly and quickly. Nothing sudden.

Those shots? Rubber bullets to get the momma away from the people fishing.

Yeah, nothing surprises me anymore about people's behavior.
posted by grefo at 9:10 PM on July 23, 2015


It's easy to not have the correct instincts when you've never been in an environment before. Rip tides in the ocean, bears in the wild, eye contact on the subway...

It's not a question of instinct, though. Things like this happen because of willful ignorance, disrespect, and disregard for rules, signage, and warnings of all sorts. These are the same sorts of idiots who climb on petroglyphs, graffitize natural features, carve initials (or worse) in trees, light campfires during severe drought, give food to coyotes and marmots and bison (etc.), climb on natural arches, trample cryptobiotic soil, steal petrified wood, and so on, and so on, and so on. There are signs and literature everywhere (in multiple languages) saying, begging, pleading for people not to do these things. But still they do, and they deserve no sympathy when nature strikes back. Nature deserves sympathy, though, and so do future generations deprived of nature that has been destroyed or befouled by idiots.

On the bright side, a month or so ago at Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and IIRC also at Wupatki National Monument, I saw smiling children raising their hands and making their Junior Ranger pledges. I want to believe there is hope... "As a Junior Ranger, I promise to teach others about what I learned today, explore other parks and historic sites, and help preserve and protect these places so future generations can enjoy them." I hope they remember that pledge into adulthood.
posted by tempestuoso at 9:12 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


What time at night do you turn off the falls at night?

Note that it the falls have been turned off before. But wasn't quite as easy as I remember it being.

Heck, 'round these parts we accidentally turned the river almost completely off a few months ago.

Most waterways in the United States are artificial.
posted by Hatashran at 9:22 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think also some people underestimate the danger of large herbivores.

Jesus Christ, I want to know what goes through those people's heads. Having been within about 10 feet of an elk cow the last time I was in Yellowstone (in the Old Faithful geyser basin), I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life. I was certain I was going to get stomped to death.

(And no, I wasn't trying to take a selfie, and no, I didn't try to get near the elk. *It* decided to get near me, and because a) I was on a boardwalk and b) there were other elk in the area I couldn't really do anything about it.)
posted by asterix at 9:24 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


TOURIST VISITING NIAGARA FALLS: "What time at night do you turn off the falls at night? Do the pipes freeze in the winter?"

But they do almost turn them off at night, and November through April or May.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is playing dead usually a good strategy when dealing with an animal like a bison or bull? I had never heard of that.

When camping in Theodore Roosevelt National Park* as a kid during bison rutting season, they gave us the following tips for Your Night With Bison:

1) Do not cross open spaces. Any of them.

2) Bison do not like headlights and, thanks to their horns, they don't have to suffer from them!

3) If they charge, run into the tent. Sure, it's bright orange and smells like Axe, but hey presto! To a bison, you're a rock. Hooray!

So sure, if you have to avoid a bison, acting like a rock might work. But I don't want to test out that theory.


*highly recommended!
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:40 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is playing dead usually a good strategy when dealing with an animal like a bison or bull?
posted by Sleeper

Eponys... no.


Seconding the 'no' here. If you've come to the point where you're considering this, you've probably passed up about 10 other decisions in the previous 5 minutes that would have avoided this moment in the first place.

A mature bison bull weighs around 2000lbs, and at full tilt, that's a lot of inertia. They're not really designed to stop on a dime, and unless there is a known barrier ahead of you (like a fence) a running bull will not slow down and most likely either try to ram/throw you with it's head/horns, or if it has no time to react to you being on the ground, it will just trample you and then circle around and ram you, but at that point it's academic, as being trampled means all sorts of broken bones if you're lucky, and massive internal damage to you if you're not, and he can knock you around for some time until someone else distracts him.

However, if there is absolutely no way to get to a fence or some form of barrier before it gets to you, I'd recommend using that inertia to your advantage. As I said, they can't stop on a dime, and at full speed, it may take 12-20 feet for them to stop. If they are prepared to stop though (if they see a fence or a truck or something big blocking their path), they can shorten that to maybe 6-8 feet. Also, when running, they can't turn all that fast, but you still need to consider their horns and more importantly, their ability to throw their heads around on their necks.

So let's say it's just one (oh lucky you!) angry bison or bull you have to deal with, it's running at you, and you're in the middle of an open area. Immediately put an invisible box around the front half of the bull, about 3 feet wider that its body - if you end up in that box, you're fucked (adjust this depending on horn size and position i.e. bigger box for Longhorn/Scottish Highland cattle, for example). Run your ass off towards anything bigger than you, preferably bigger than it. When he gets about 40 feet or so from you, it's time to stop and face towards him and run to your left a bit and watch him change course to intercept you. You now have about 4-5 seconds before he reaches you. Immediately cut right, and hook around his flank as he passes, keeping well outside that imaginary box.

You're now in his area of least vision - not a blind spot, but it will do. He will then have to slow down, turn, and charge again, craning his neck the whole time. He's still pissed off, but the combination of slowing down, turning his head, having to think a bit (more important than you might realize), and start to charge again will tire him out a bit. In my experience with cattle (like these pretty beasts), this kind of 'switching gears' between thinking and doing is extremely useful, as it breaks their adrenalin rush a bit, they start to feel their muscles tire and their breath become heavy, and makes subsequent charges and turns slower.

Still, right now you've only dodged one charge. Time to run for your life again, but on a slightly different tack towards your goal. You'll need to do this same thing at least three or four times before you either reach your goal, or get lucky and have the bull decide he's made his point, proved himself a badass in front of the ladies, and decides it's time to return to the herd he's protecting. Never count on this. Though if he loses sight of his herd somehow during the chase, due to a hill or something, it may increase the chances of this. I can't emphasize may enough.

The only other thing I can think of that would help for you personally is if you had something that made you seem bigger, such as a walking stick or cow poker (a wooden thing that kind of looks as if a cricket bat and a baseball bat had a child). Spin it around a lot when you need to turn, bob and weave, as from the bull's perspective, it makes your 'invisible box' bigger, which can help change is course in your favor. The downside is that that often needs to be practiced to work right, as often you just end up making it more difficult for you to circle around them because they'll slow down quicker and it gives them more room to turn on you when you make your 'fake right' move.

So don't play dead, it could be the last role you ever play.
posted by chambers at 9:56 PM on July 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


Oh, one other thing about the "cow poker." They're not made or intended for hitting or hurting cattle, just for giving them a slow firm push, usually around their shoulders, to get them to move in a certain direction, usually for when a number of cattle are being directed into a narrow opening to keep the ones on the outside edges from separating from what I guess you'd call the main "flow of traffic," or as an extension of your arm to direct the herd, much like you would with chickens or ducks.
posted by chambers at 10:11 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the most scariest experiences

Ugh. My previous comment brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.
posted by ZaphodB at 10:41 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


This Chicago boy married into a family with a cabin in the upper left corner of Wyoming, 30 miles east of the Northwest gate of Yellowstone. One thing we like to do every year is hike up to a remote lake. From where we stick the car it's three miles up and back down. When we come back to Chicago and talk to my parents about what we do out there they scoff at the precautions we take, like we are being hyperbolic. Wearing bear bells, carrying bear spray. My brother in law is always armed and my sister in law tends to sing the whole way just to let the fauna know we are a'comin. My parents think we are joking, but they've never been to Wyoming or Montana. I can understand how these tourists can be completely clueless.

We have castle doctrine in certain states where you can blast away at somebody invading your property. I think it's time to extend it to the Bears and bison.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 11:16 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was gonna say, I'm pretty sure it does extend to bears, bison, or whatever other kinds of wild animals you find rummaging around in your house.

But then I realized, you meant it the other way around. Totally on board with that, too.
posted by hap_hazard at 3:48 AM on July 24, 2015


Yes, tourists really are stupid (I live right on the edge of the tourist part of town, and cruise ships deliver 250,000 people to the cruise ship docks in my neighbourhood), but it's not their fault. Or our fault.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect would seem to apply here. People don't know what they don't know. Having enough compassion to understand that _this_ is the problem is important in order to solve the problem.
posted by amtho at 4:52 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only other thing I can think of that would help for you personally is if you had something that made you seem bigger, such as a walking stick or cow poker (a wooden thing that kind of looks as if a cricket bat and a baseball bat had a child). Spin it around a lot when you need to turn, bob and weave, as from the bull's perspective, it makes your 'invisible box' bigger, which can help change is course in your favor.

Would a big red cape work?
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:03 AM on July 24, 2015


The reason you play dead with bears and not with bison is because bears eat meat and aren't as interested in meat that (they think) is already dead. Bison aren't interested in eating you, they want to fuck you up if you get too close. If you're not too close, then they don't really give a shit about you. That goes for most animals though.
posted by desjardins at 6:45 AM on July 24, 2015


Would a big red cape work?

I've seen it tried by non-matadors using coats and not capes with cattle, and often it doesn't work out, for two reasons. First, it puts you inside that invisible box I spoke of and people often underestimate how much reach a bull's neck has, especially when it comes to horns. Secondly, there is a bit of art to handling a cape like a matador (don't forget, IIRC they often have some form of wooden stick in their cape so they can add a few feet to their reach, which you don't have just holding a coat), and people naturally want to hang on to their coats - this means they let the bull get too close, and often keep holding onto the coat after it gets hooked by the bull's head or horns. This gives the bull an advantage, as now you're in close quarter combat with a bull, and the bull has a lifetime of experience of what his neck, head, and horns can do. All he has to do is knock you over or even slightly poke you with his horns and suddenly you're on the ground and helpless at worst, or off-balance and injured at best.
posted by chambers at 6:45 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was lucky enough to see The Wardens in concert where they sang their song "Silly Questions" detilaing the things they have heard as their experience as park wardens in Alberta.

My favorite part is about the guy who wanted to know when the ground squirrels wake up. Not being patient enough to wait, he shook his keys over an entrance in the ground only to have them snatched by a critter. I think they offered him a shovel?
posted by Gor-ella at 7:06 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok. I've got it. No selfies in a buffalo herd.

Can you roller skate?
posted by East14thTaco at 7:43 AM on July 24, 2015


It's easy to not have the correct instincts when you've never been in an environment before. Rip tides in the ocean, bears in the wild...

Like in Provincetown?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:43 AM on July 24, 2015


All those selfie pics are of white people, I noticed.
posted by agregoli at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2015


I think that's a red herring. Travelling to Yellowstone can be quite expensive (or at least time consuming, if you drive) and people of color are less likely to be able to afford it. Except for Asian tourists - there are quite a few of those.
posted by desjardins at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2015


All those selfie pics are of white people, I noticed.

Regarding people of color in the park, not counting Asian folks because there were plenty of those (I think there's an inordinate love of all things geothermal in their culture? Even to the point of it being a virility thing for couples on some levels, but I digress...).

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it because folks might attribute malice to it where there was absolutely none but we, a group of friends working there in the resteraunt, had a game that's a good example of how rarely we saw them working and while hiking or traveling around the park.

Basically we called it the 'dollar' game and was supposed to be a pay each other every so often based upon the score type of game but we never did and it was basically a version of the game kids play when they're driving down the road and bored and see a red car and the first one to point them out gets a point... but instead of looking for a red car we were looking two things: people of color (non-Asian) and/or high heels.

Both of those things were so rare in the park as to elicit comment and keep the game interesting, much more so than the, fairly common in comparison, red car sighting. Either of those things was 1 point/dollar and a conjunction of both things on one individual was a 5 point grand slam. So yea, as a comment on how often dollars/points were scored I recall that there would be several shifts of working serving food where no dollars/points at all were scored. Some shifts would generate 4 or 5, maybe. Many road trips to the Tetons or Cody, WY would generate none or only a few points over the course of a few days.

Coming from the US South it was very surreal. Also, I didn't really credit my dad, who is not racist (here's a citation or two) but is well traveled due to rolling-stone syndrome through middle age, when he told me that racism in the south doesn't really hold a candle to racism in the west up to and including Wyoming and such. It seemed unreal to me because, duh, South, racism, civil rights, and all that jazz go together like collard greens and bacon drippings. But, yea, it was at least as, and I'd say even more, prevelant. And perhaps even more insiduious because it just seemed to be a norm instead of a behavior. I don't want to overstep by speculating too much but the low population numbers of PoC there seemed to have contributed to an air of unwelcomeness that I found disturbing and, again, distinctly different if not worse than that in the deep south.

Sure, sure, it could be argued that our game contributed to that air and I accept that but to us, and in our groups we had PoC playing along and a zero tolerance for racist actions/inclinations, it was just a game of red-car quietly played to pass the hours between hiking trips.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2015


Oh and the heels on cowboy boots didn't count. Obviously.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Too bad for the guy who wanted a selfie with a rattlesnake that Synanon isn't around any more. They could have arranged an opportunity for that.
posted by Anne Neville at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2015


This is where I'd throw lots of technology at the problem. Rent out drones with VR cameras to go look at whatever. Park Service could have some overseers who could recall drones if their tourist-operator was being annoying.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:07 AM on July 24, 2015


Growing up in Wyoming it never ceased to amaze me how incredibly foolish visitors were with regard to approaching the local wildlife. I think it is because other states' wild creatures are a bunch of easily frightened wusses, while Wyoming's wildlife is basically all cowboy's up and ready to throw down at any moment.
posted by humanfont at 11:14 AM on July 24, 2015


Montanan here with a lot of ties to both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. I think many of the tourists (probably the majority) are just so far removed from wilderness and its adangers that they just have no sense of caution. It seems mind-blowing to me, but of course i'm used to the concept that if I go on a walk in the woods a mile outside of town, I might encounter a bear. Particularly with bison, tourists seem to see them as placid, cow-like creatures. I can kind of see that, because they move very slowly most of the time, take dust baths and eat grass. Most of the time. Best way to avoid getting gored by a bison is to stay the eff away from them. Same with moose. Elk and deer during mating season. Just this week, an acquaintance who works in GNP got attacked by a grizzly on an off trail hike. She was a momma they surprised around a bend in the trail. Other than a clawed up arm, he is okay, but get this, he had to hike over twenty miles to get help. Bells don't work, bear spray can if it easily accesible and not in the bottom of your pack, but your best bet is to talk while hiking, and be cautious around bends, big open grassy areas, etc. interestingly, grizzlies generally will react defensively, and charge, attack, and then run off, though that attack can do some major damage. Black bears will actually attack in a predatory way sometimes, but they are easier to scare off. Playing dead is a good idea with grizzlies because when they don't think of you as a threat anymore, they will often run off. And all bear will bluff charge, that is to say, run at you and stop, to see if you are a threat. It's good to be very very still, not making eye contact, according to the bear biologist who told me this, but if they charge within 20 feet or so, they mean business. Just don't run, because they can run faster. In GNP, the highest causes of death are actually water related deaths and falls, not the wild life. But it isn't central park here, and the just totally stupid and risky behavior that I've seen by tourists over the years more than anything speaks to how detached people have become from the natural world, except mitigated by the separation of a tv screen.
posted by branravenraven at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ricochet Biscuit: "Two words came instantly to my mind ..."

The late NYT editor and usage maven Theodore Bernstein had two other words: synonymomania and monologophobia.
posted by key_of_z at 11:32 AM on July 24, 2015


The Dunning-Kruger Effect would seem to apply here. People don't know what they don't know. Having enough compassion to understand that _this_ is the problem is important in order to solve the problem.

I lived in a tourist town for years which constantly had problems with tourists and bears. Namely tourists seeing a bear and going out of their way to get close and take pictures. I've seen people with toddlers hike up the bottom of a ski hill in the summer because they see a bear way up there. I've seen Dad's coaxing Mom and kids to get closer,' no, no get closer hon' to bears that have wandered into the parking area.

I get that people may not know. The problem isn't not knowing that they know, it's that even when they are informed, told, warned by locals and others about the situation and what bears are like, they don't care. You can be as nice and compassionate as can be. Talk to them in a friendly manner and you will be more then likely ignored or told to fuck off, literally and in so many words.

This town has been studied as an example of what a community can do to help people and bears co-exist peacefully. There are strict by-laws in place about garbage and fines into the tens of thousands for feeding beers that have actually be used. Local education is extensive. Information about bears that tourists can access is everywhere. Signs explaining bear and bear behavior are everywhere. It appears from my experience that for a certain segment of people no amount of caring or compassion about helping with ignorance matters.

These types of people in my experience are purposely clueless. They are the exception if confronted by knowledge or education no matter what the form or compassionate the person may be in wanting others to be safe.

I want a picture of my 2 year old with a bear trumps it all.

It really is that bad in a lot of cases.

If this type of thing only happened once or twice in my 8 years there I would say 'yeah outlier there'.

It was scarily common.

I lost track of how many times I was part of a local crowd that stood and watched this sort of behavior and there was seriously nothing anyone could do besides possibly doing something physical. This usually meant people chasing the bear off as best they could while tourist people got all pissed that they didn't get their 'awesome family pic to show people at home'. One time it meant two guys literally blocking Mom and two kids from walking closer to the bear while Dad yelled about calling the cops.
posted by Jalliah at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


So true, Jalliah. This oblivious lack of respect despite all the signs and warnings.
posted by branravenraven at 11:47 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]



I think my overall favorite story about this was dude who decided that our intervention in ' family picture with bear time' was a good opportunity to 'educate' us on how this was a great example of how our gun laws (Canada) are wrong and bad unlike those in his country. (US)

Cause you know if he was able to carry his gun he would be able to shoot the bear if it acted up. I pictured gun in one hand, camera in the other, 'Okay just a little closer, almost there, perfect vacation pic coming....'.

This was group I was with response.

...........................................................................................

Some people are just so beyond stupid there are no words.
posted by Jalliah at 11:57 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


"You'd think they'd have a way of clearing the field of bison and bears, but I guess not." - Brian Kilmeade
posted by Chuffy at 12:18 PM on July 24, 2015


I have a spectacular photo of my son kissing a moose on the nose! And posing with a grizzly! Because it's a taxidermied moose. And a taxidermied grizzly. Live animals? Jesus christ no.

I grew up in the Gallatin valley in Montana... my parents worked at Big Sky for a while in the late 1970s. One day on the way in, we saw a grizzly in the dumpster, poking around, and a large pool of skiiers getting close to snap photos. Mom hustled us out of the car and into the day care center where she worked as fast as she could, and we watched the grizzly from inside the building. I distinctly remember her pointing out that it was a grizzly bear, and that the people up close were imbeciles.

That bear was huge by the way.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:41 PM on July 24, 2015


fremen: The photo of the woman with the pink hair is not a selfie. She's clearly not part of the problem.

It seemed a little unfair to include that one. I don't know if she's exactly 75 feet away, but the bison is clearly a good many yards back and lying down. And she's having her picture taken by someone else, so if it takes offense despite the distance and gets up, she's not going to be taken by surprise. "Taking pictures with wildlife in the background" is not the same thing as rolling up to animals and leaning in to take a selfie.
posted by tavella at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2015


(and if you wanna get a good close look at a bison, try getting caught in a herd of them! Our van was trapped by bison once in Yellowstone, and we sat there for a good hour it seemed just watching them through the windows. My dad told us patience was better than pissing off a herd of 2000 lb beasts.)
posted by caution live frogs at 1:50 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


We have castle doctrine in certain states where you can blast away at somebody invading your property. I think it's time to extend it to the Bears and bison.
posted by MarvinTheCat


I too support the right to arm bears.
posted by azpenguin at 2:16 PM on July 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


So true, Jalliah. This oblivious lack of respect despite all the signs and warnings.

I've referenced this several times before in the blue about folk like that and I'll say it again:

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
posted by chambers at 2:21 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lewis and Clark were headed up river and they keep hearing about these terrible monster grisley bears. The indians tell them to be careful and never fight one with fewer than 6 men. Soon enough they come across a couple of bears and easily kill them with their advanced riffles. A few days later they discover these were just cubs. They encounter their first real grisley. It takes more than ten shots into the 500lb bear to kill it. As they go further up river the bears get bigger. Men are chased up trees, across rivers. Iirc one of the two leaders writes near the end of their adventure how fortunate it was none of them were killed.
posted by humanfont at 3:19 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unzipping your tent amidst a bison herd is a nerve-wracking way to wake up. Lemme tell you what. They are 2-ton, 35mph capable, plainly stupid and skittish beasts, as well as aswarm with ticks, and delivering prodigious puddling diarrhea shits everywhere they set hoof. Let em fight it out with the ostriches, and make the survivors into burgers. Anyone with sense does not try to fraternize at this animal.
posted by batfish at 7:10 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I lived in a tourist town for years which constantly had problems with tourists and bears.

I'm curious if this was Mammoth, or if there is another place that the rest of your post could describe.
posted by flaterik at 1:33 AM on July 25, 2015


Wow. Just read this in this morning's paper:
Man charged, accused of jumping cougar exhibit at Columbus Zoo.
In the video, Newell, while holding the camera, jumps a short wooden fence at the cougar exhibit and approaches a wire fence that separates him from the cougars. He pets two cougars through the fence, rubbing their ears and necks.

“Animal welfare and safety are two of our top priorities,” Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the zoo, said in a news release. “Barriers, like the fence line at the cougar habitat, are in place to keep our guests and animals safe.

“The actions taken in this video were alarming and resulted in our decision to press charges.”
posted by Toekneesan at 5:18 AM on July 25, 2015


Re: the cougar video, it's wrong and dangerous to be doing that, but boyyyy I can understand the temptation to scritch behind those big kitty ears.
posted by desjardins at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2015


Related: Russian Government launches campaign encouraging Safe Selfie taking [PDF].
posted by Mitheral at 6:43 PM on July 26, 2015


Russian Government launches campaign encouraging Safe Selfie taking [PDF].

Google translate does glorious things with this:

Safe Self

Your health and your life more million likes on social networks!

Russian Interior Ministry concerned about the increasing incidence of trauma and even death when trying to make a unique self. Each of these cases can be prevented. To this end, the Russian Interior Ministry memo created "Safe Self", designed to draw attention, first of all young people to this problem. We have tried to visualize, in the form of icons, represent the most traumatic cases the creation of self, thus to warn citizens against undue risk for a memorable picture.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:59 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was amused enough by this warning sign in Yellowstone to take a photo. Seems like it would get the point across to even the dumbest tourist that they ought to stay on prepared paths when near the thermal features.
posted by exogenous at 1:11 PM on July 29, 2015


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