JACKSON, Wyo. — Shortly after a fox was euthanized at Colter Bay, a petition started circulating online to ban professional photographer, David Yarrow, from entering all national parks after multiple reports came in of him feeding and enticing foxes in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP).
“We demand that Yarrow be held accountable by the fullest extent of the law for corroborating in the illegal feeding of a wild animal,” the petition says. “David Yarrow is a high profile photographer who many other artists look up to as a role model. By continuing to accept his actions, we award his unethical practices, and send the message to other photographers that they can violate National Park Laws and endanger the lives of their wild subjects without fear of consequences.”
A Jackson resident and photographer told Buckrail that she saw the photographer and his crew feeding and enticing foxes in Colter Bay earlier last week.
“I was photographing a fox while a group of men modeled and photographed a stylized shoot with fur and guns about 20 feet away from me. One man circled the area feeding the fox occasionally. After this, the men started photographing two foxes,” photographer Tiffany Taxis said of the incident. “The photographer instructed one of the men to use the plastic bag to entice the foxes to come closer. The foxes came within a foot of the photographer and eagerly waited for food. Then one of the men stated, ‘you better do what I tell you or I’ll take out my gun and shoot you.’ I simply couldn’t imagine how a person could speak to an innocent animal like that. I then discreetly took photographs of the men.”
The park service says that feeding wildlife is actually a form of animal cruelty. Animals that are fed by humans learn to frequent roadsides and parking lots, dramatically increasing their chances of being run over by a careless motorist.
According to the NPS webpage, most animals have very specific natural diets and therefore specific kinds of digestive bacteria. Being fed human food causes the wrong type of bacteria to become dominant in their stomachs. Soon these animals are no longer able to digest their natural foods, and they end up starving to death with stomachs full of what they should have been eating all along.
Taxis later said that she is certain the man she saw in the park was Yarrow.
“I have collected extensive evidence from Yarrow’s Instagram and Facebook profiles, as well as the men he was with, that definitively prove it was him,” said Taxis. “I also reported the incident to the National Park and filed a witness report.”
The park service is still uncertain whether the fox that was euthanized is one of the same foxes from the alleged feeding incident with Yarrow last week.
“The [euthanized] fox was food conditioned and habituated,” Germann said. “But I do not know if that fox was involved in that incident or not.”
The investigation of reports that Yarrow and his crew were feeding foxes is still ongoing.
There had been plans to euthanize the fox since last summer, but the fox proved elusive until this week.
Regardless of who is feeding or enticing wildlife, not only is it illegal, but it is never a good idea to habituate wild animals for the safety of both them and humans.
Park visitors are reminded to maintain a minimum viewing distance of 25 yards from most wildlife and 100 yards from wolves and bears.
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