Yellowstone National Park Issues Warning Against Getting Too Close to Wildlife Following Several Recent Incidents

“The park calls on visitors to protect wildlife by understanding how their actions can negatively impact wildlife.”

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The National Park Service is warning visitors to Yellowstone National Park to respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance following a series of incidents in which people interfered with the park’s animals.

The park service warned visitors to stay away from any animal, even if it is found near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, on a road, or in a developed area. In fact, park goers must stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife (including bison, elk, and deer) and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

“Yellowstone provides millions of visitors one of the greatest wildlife viewing displays in North America. In recent days, some actions by visitors have led to the endangerment of people and wildlife and resulted in the death of wildlife,” the NPS wrote in its warning. “The park calls on visitors to protect wildlife by understanding how their actions can negatively impact wildlife.”

The warning follows several incidents in which park goers interfered with animals. Last month, for example, a Hawaii man pleaded guilty to intentionally disturbing wildlife in the park after he pushed a struggling newborn bison calf up from a river onto the roadway. Park officials then had to euthanize the calf because it was abandoned by its herd and “causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway.”

The NPS said it was also investigating a “range of other recent bison incidents.”

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, visitors interfered with an elk calf, placing it in their car and driving it to a local police department. The calf later ran off into the forest and its condition is now unknown. And several animals have been struck and killed by vehicles, including a pair of adult male black bears.

This isn’t the first time Yellowstone has warned against getting close to wildlife. Last month, the park said visitors should take extra care around elk since the calving season had begun and the animals could become extra aggressive.

In all, the park contains 67 different mammals like bison, moose, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolverines, and summer is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone to see its plentiful wildlife.

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