Yesterday was my first day back to reality after a 4-day stay at Algonquin Provincial Park. It was a much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and an excellent chance to reconnect a bit with nature. I fell in love with Algonquin when I made my first visit there last summer, but aside from a few insects, I didn’t really encounter much wildlife. This year was a little different. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I’ve ever actually seen a moose in person, right along Highway 60 that runs through the park.
It was a pretty cool experience, aside from the multiple people who parked their cars on the side of the highway, blocking part or ALL of a lane of traffic. And about 2 km up the road, there was another moose hanging out in a similar setting right along the highway.
In the park guide, moose are one of the major animals mentioned, alongside bears. I haven’t seen any bears at Algonquin yet – but I’m okay with that. Not that I would put myself in a situation where I’d be vulnerable to a bear attack – they just seem to be getting smarter. For example, watch this bear down in Yellowstone Park:
Pro-Tip: Locked doors are harder to open. After seeing this, I can’t help but be reminded of Jurassic Park…
It’s not the only crazy situation with an animal at Yellowstone that’s been caught on video. Perhaps you saw this one a couple weeks back on Facebook: This woman got a little too close to an elk and, well… You know.
The video doesn’t show a collision, but apparently what happened was that the woman tripped and fell and the elk stopped just short of trampling her. The main male voice in the video belongs to Jody Tibbetts, who has been a tour guide in Yellowstone for a couple decades. From Huffington Post:
In Yellowstone, regulations require that visitors remain at least 25 yards from elk,bison, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes, and at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
Tibbitts, who’s been a tour guide in Yellowstone since the early 1990s, told EastIdahoNews that tourists harassing wildlife has become an “out of control“ problem over the last few years. “Literally on a daily basis I’m having to tell people they’re way too close to animals,” he told the publication. “I’ve even seen folks chase bears into the woods for a picture.”
This came just a couple weeks after a pair of foreign tourists came across a bison calf that they thought looked cold, so they grabbed it, put it in the back of their SUV and took it to a ranger station. When they got there, they were told they could be in trouble for having it, but they didn’t care. They legitimately thought they were doing the animal a service… However, officials had to euthanize the animal after multiple attempts to re-integrate it into a herd were unsuccessful.
— CNN (@CNN) May 16, 2016
I mean, as you can see above, regulations require visitors remain at least 25 yards from most animals, and 100 yards from bears and wolves. From the sounds of it, this pair was lucky they weren’t killed in the process.
A bison expert said the baby animal probably wasn’t healthy and may have been abandoned by its mother, or else it wouldn’t have been caught so easily. “From about 3 days old, they can run up to 30 miles per hour,” bison rancher Troy Westre told NBC Montana. “If the mother is around, she’s going to kill you any chance she gets.”
Last month, three Canadians earned charges at Yellowstone by stomping all over the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Don’t do that. Ever. Here’s the story, and a couple more photos of their stupidity:
— Zaibatsu News Ⓜ️ (@ZaibatsuNews) May 17, 2016
Not only is that damaging for the fragile ecosystem, it’s also incredibly stupid and could have got one or all three of them killed. I mean, just over a week ago a 23-year-old man from Oregon fell into a hot spring, and authorities said there were “No remains left to recover.”
So if you’re planning some sort of wilderness adventure vacation this summer, make sure you stay safe. Lock your car around dangerous wildlife, don’t get too close, and follow the regulations of whatever park you might be in. Not only will it save you some money from not having to pay fines, but it might just save your life and the lives of the animals too.