By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Despite the numerous warnings, gorings, tramplings and de-pantsings, some tourists still are not getting the message that wild animals should not be approached in Yellowstone nor anywhere else.
It still occurs, like clockwork, and this year’s newly-christened tourist season is already producing plenty of social media content.
The latest entry, less than one week after the opening of the park’s west gate near Cody, comes from Sean Swetter, a more intelligent tourist visiting Yellowstone from Clifford, Pennsylvania.
Swetter saw an individual approaching a bison on Thursday on a snowy pathway in the park.
Of course, Swetter started filming.
The tourist, equipped with a camera around his neck, approached the bison from the rear until he was mere feet from the wild animal. Yellowstone officials recommend people — at the minimum — stay at least 25 yards away from bison.
Needing no prompting from a director, once the wild animal spotted him, he went after the tourist — just enough to back him off.
The tourist wasn’t injured in the confrontation but certainly could have been.
Rob Wallace, who oversaw the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2018 – 2021, said he remains perplexed that some people haven’t gotten the message that wild animals are wild.
“What’s astounding to me is all of the social media attention given to people that get themselves in trouble with wildlife and it still continues,” Wallace said.
“These people have become a meme in a very unflattering way,” he said.
As for the tourist, Swetter said he was approached the by the individual’s wife, who asked for some bear spray so they could get back to their car safely.
The ending of a wildlife encounter without an injury was not shared by a snowmobiler who was stomped repeatedly by a moose last month after trying to pet him.