Safety, Not Selfie, First When Surrounded By Wildlife

Photo by National Park Service
Photo by National Park Service

Summer in Alaska means visits to some of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the world. But sharing the Last Frontier with wildlife comes with the responsibility to stay safe. In other words, don’t assume that taking a selfie with animals behind you is the smartest idea.

From Reuters:

 A Yellowstone National Park visitor was gored this week as she tried to snap a selfie photo close to one of the park’s famed bison, the fifth attack on a tourist who has ignored warnings to admire the mammals from afar, officials said on Thursday.

The 43-year-old Mississippi woman and her daughter were standing with their back to a bison when it charged on Tuesday, tossing her into the air and inflicting minor injuries, Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said.

She was the fifth Yellowstone visitor since May to be gored by one of the park’s popular bison, which can weigh as much as a ton, and the third tourist seeking to take a picture of a buffalo while crowding too close.

The millions of tourists who visit the park annually are warned when they enter Yellowstone, by handouts, signs and orally to keep a distance of at least 25 yards (meters) from bison and to give even more berth to creatures such as grizzly bears, said Bartlett.

Yet the message is clearly not getting through to some individuals who flock to a park that spans more than 3,400 square miles (8,800 sq km) of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

I get it. We all want to take that epic photo when we’re on vacation. But here’s the bottom line: don’t take for granted that animals couldn’t care less about making your Instagram feed and increasing your likes. Photobomb? Phooey!

Stay safe at our national parks.