Visitors are told to remain at least 25 yards away from bison at Yellowstone National Park.

Visitors are told to remain at least 25 yards away from bison at Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

When video surfaced on Facebook of a woman petting a bison lying near the boardwalk at Old Faithful on Saturday, the Billings Gazette captured the moment perfectly by writing, “It’s stupid tourist season again in Yellowstone National Park.”

It was opening day for visitors at the legendary national park and Eugena Mike True was there to capture video of the ill-advised and very much illegal actions of an ignorant woman who apparently thought what she was doing was perfectly safe.

True posted the video on the Yellowstone Visitor Facebook page with the message to “Never approach wildlife and never pet them. Sadly, this visitor thought it was a good idea to pet a bison.”

She subsequently posted the video on YouTube with the user name YNP DarwinAwardCandidate:

“We don’t restrict animal movements in the park,” Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett told KRTV. “You still need to keep the minimum distance.”

Bartlett told KGVO that park regulations require visitors to remain a minimum distance of 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from any other large animals like elk and bison.

“When you harass wildlife, you could face a citation or a mandatory appearance in front of a federal magistrate,” Bartlett told KRTV.

Bartlett told KRTV that law enforcement is investigating the incident, which clearly was against park regulations. Obviously, safety is among the reasons for these rules.

Last year, bison gored five people, and four required to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“This woman is extremely lucky,” Bartlett said. “We can’t explain why he didn’t get up. His tolerance level hasn’t been tested in quite a few months."

Adventure Journal detailed the dangers of getting close to bison, including the story of a woman and daughter who were taking a selfie when a bison attacked.

“Of the three who were attacked when taking photographs last year, the average distance was between three and six feet,” Adventure Journal wrote.

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