Days after the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park opened this year, one tourist filmed another as he sidled, camera in hand, toward a bison that grazed with its back to him. He advanced to within feet of the hulking creature before it started to retreat. And still, he stepped closer.
The bison, easily 10 times his size, turned.
The tourist fled.
His feet slid precariously across the icy bridge that stood between him and safety, but the bison didn’t follow, and the confrontation ended there. The entire video was only 11 seconds long.
Not everyone has been so fortunate. Even though visitors are required to stay at least 25 yards away from bison and other big herbivores, this scene is all too common at Yellowstone, where bison alone injure at least one too-close tourist every year. Many end up hospitalized.
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As the park’s first viral encounter of the season spread across social media, angry commenters called for the perpetrator’s arrest; a similar video of a tourist who approached and was bluff-charged by a grizzly bear last May