PSA: With great wildlife comes great responsibility

JACKSON HOLE, WYO — Before the crowds descend upon us for the summer season—as quasi-stewards and ambassadors of the oldest national park (Yellowstone) bordered by the coolest national park (Grand Teton)—Buckrail would like to make the following public service announcement.

We can’t say it enough. Read signs. Follow rules. Be respectful of the wonders and wildlife you see.

Bison are amazing

Saturday, May 11, 2019. Kyle Wilkinson captures a disturbing incident on video between a few of bison and a ‘small dog complex’ of a small dog somewhere between Grand Prismatic Spring and Norris Geyser Basin.

The dog barks and harasses the wild animals. Notice the agitation of the bison. Their tails are up and twitching. The bison closest to the camera licks nervously at one point. These are indications the animals are stressed and someone or something is about to get a hornful of hurt.

Park authorities made the following statement to MTN News who posted the video online.

“Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. They are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans. People should always stay at least 25 yards away from bison. Park regulations also state that pets must be physically controlled at all times. Because the owners of the dog did not have it on a leash, not only did it cause the bison to become agitated, but it also caused a hazardous situation to the owners.”

A dog escapes from a Yellowstone visitor and harasses bison. (Kyle Wilkinson via MTN)

Bear aware

Note the small cub in the photo. This could have turned real bad, real quick. (Sarah Walker)

Bears attract the biggest crowds for sure. A roadside grizzly can stall traffic for miles. Too many people take the opportunity to get out of their vehicle and creep close for that once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Do you really want to make it last-of-your-lifetime shot?

Again, the speed of these animals will shock you should they make a charge. You will have no time for anything. If bear spray is not in your hand, it’s too late for that.

It is why park officials state you should give bears at least 100 yards. Yards, not feet. Even at this distance, a charging grizzly can be on you in 6 seconds.

Watch especially for cubs. For the average looky-loo an adorable cub means your memory card is about to fill to bursting. For the bear-wise, cubs mean momma is nearby and she can be extremely protective.

This PSA is not meant to make either park seem scary or all animals appear dangerous. It’s given with an abundance of caution knowing it is a message that sometimes needs to cross cultural and language barriers.

Even bears know to use the boardwalk in Yellowstone. (NPS)

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