Theyre called wild animals for a reason A pamphlet distributed by the National Park Service to people entering Yellowstone National Park warns visitors not to get too close to bison, also known as buffalo (AP photos)
Theyre called wild animals for a reason
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A pamphlet drawing of a man being gored and flung into the air warns tourists in Yellowstone National Park not to get too close to bison. They're wild animals and can be dangerous.

Rangers distribute the flyer to people as they enter the park. But some visitors still aren't getting the message. Bison have gored two people in the Old Faithful area within the past three weeks.

Increased tourism has put more people close to the animals, Yellowstone spokeswoman Traci Weaver said. Tourism was up 18 percent in the park in May. That is compared to the same month last year.

Most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming. But it extends into Montana and Idaho, too.

"There's just a lot of people around. And the temptation is there when a bison looks calm," Weaver said.

Still, she said the two attacks in such a short period were unusual.

The latest attack on June 2 was an especially violent scene. A bison charged a 62-year-old Australian man and flung him into the air several times.

A male American bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. That is bigger than a Smart car. They have horns that aren't just for grubbing around for tasty shoots.

Bison often behave much like cattle. They often are lumbering about and lazing in the sunshine. But when they get a mind to, they can run up to 40 mph. That is almost twice as fast as Usain Bolt's world-record speed in the 100-meter dash.

"I just don't think people realize how fast bison move. They're big animals. But they move quickly. And so when a bison becomes agitated, it doesn't take him long to cover that short distance," Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said.

The unidentified Australian was flown by helicopter to a hospital. He was treated for serious injuries and released.

The attack happened as a group of people crowded near the bison as it lay on the grass near a paved trail. The man was taking photos of the shaggy beast from just a few feet, but the whole crowd was much too close, park officials said.

Anything less than 75 feet is unsafe, they warn. Also, stop staring at your camera or phone and be aware of your surroundings. And, know that Yellowstone's wild animals are free to roam where they please.

If a bison is near a trail, don't go down that trail.

"Just because the animal is near the trail or boardwalk doesn't mean it's tame," Bartlett said.

Yellowstone's summer tourist season began a month ago. The park already has had some dicey run-ins between wildlife and tourists. A videotape showed camera-clicking tourists scrambling for their vehicles as a black bear and her cubs tried to cross a bridge in Yellowstone and began running in their direction.

Then on May 16, a bison in the Old Faithful area gored a 16-year-old girl from Taiwan as she posed for a picture near the animal. She also was treated at a hospital for serious injuries and released.

Some who encounter bears in Yellowstone aren't so fortunate. Bears have killed at least seven people in Yellowstone since the park was established in 1872.

But bison and elk, especially the big-antlered males during mating season each fall are responsible for more injuries to people. It happens at least a couple of times every year. And Yellowstone has far too many tourists and wildlife for park rangers to even try to police every possible situation.

"A ranger can't be at every bison all the time," Bartlett said. "So people need to keep that common sense."

Critical thinking challenge: How can your phone be a hazard?

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COMMENTS (80)
  • chrisr-boo
    6/09/2015 - 11:09 a.m.

    Anything less than 75 feet is unsafe, they warn. Also, stop staring at your camera or phone and be aware of your surroundings. And, know that Yellowstone's wild animals are free to roam where they please.
    If a bison is near a trail, don't go down that trail.

  • emrar-boo
    6/09/2015 - 11:10 a.m.

    Your phone could be hazardous around these animals because they could easily attack you as you are taking the picture. If they don't like what you're doing, they're obviously going to go with their instinct and run after you.

  • Angela224m
    6/09/2015 - 11:28 a.m.

    Having your phone out, while your outside in Yellowstone Park can be hazardous. Due the fact your are busy taking picture on your phone or posting something on facebook of instagram instead watching your surroundings. Terrible things can happen within a few seconds specially in a wild life park. better be off your phone and watch your surroundings.

  • AC1999jamaica
    6/09/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    I think animals are wild because they are proceting them selfs. It's just a animale enixtics. that's what thet do like a lion protecting it's cub.

  • JH2001skater
    6/09/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    your phone can be a hazard because it can provoke the animals and scare them. They will end up hurting someone or doing something danegoruos

  • aidan2459
    6/09/2015 - 01:16 p.m.

    This article is about a sign trying to worn people to be careful around the bison. the picture shows a man being thrown up into the air by a huge bison. The sign is in Yellowstone national park. Some people have not been taking the sign very seriously and there has been two people thrown into the air in the past three weeks.I wouldn't take the sign seriously.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    6/09/2015 - 03:22 p.m.

    I think that it is wrong to have these people call these animals wild because they are going crazy. They are in the wild because God has place that their home for a reason. Bison was there and then the humans started to kill them for their tough skin and their meat. They killed them by the hundreds and they didn't care until there were about 100 Bison. Now this was really bad so the Bison should be able to defend themselves when they think that they are being hunted. It is natural to have these animals fear us because we are on the top of the food chain.

    Critical thinking challenge: How can your phone be a hazard? Phones can be a hazard to these animals because they don't have phones and they aren't used to the new technology that is being invented in our world.

  • sabreena2276
    6/09/2015 - 09:33 p.m.

    Many wild animals can be very dangerous but it depends what kind of animal it is. In this case a Bison is a very scary animal and i would be scared if i was her also, but all wild animals are not as scary as everyone things. Some wild animals are very calm and will not hurt you if you are not scared and if you are calm why, why do you think there are many animals we can pet at the zoo! They had to of come from somewhere, they used to wild animals, many of them. I would be scared to do that i dont like animals with horns or certain wild animals they look terrifying but dont forget many of them are not harmful.

  • KellerB-2
    6/09/2015 - 09:44 p.m.

    It is important that people know that animals in Park such as these are still very dangerous. This article is about people in Yellowstone learning about the importance of staying away from animals such as Buffalo and other animals in the park

  • JohnL-4
    6/09/2015 - 10:47 p.m.

    In the past few weeks, there have been multiple animal attacks on people at Yosemite National Park. Rangers think that the increase in tourism may have sparked this increase in bison attacks on people, and it is also mating season for Bison. In these two attacks, multiple people were nearby, foreign, and were trying to take pictures with the animal. I think that the signs being put up around the park will help keep tourists away from the bison, and I think people need to be more educated on what bison can do before going into the park.

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