Monsters and Critics asked Casey Anderson – a son of Montana and a naturist and expert for the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD – to comment on the viral video that Gawker.com originally found and posted of a clip of a bull bison at Yellowstone National Park. The spectator filming the video tells nearby kids that “He’s friendly.” The group stands in front of the bison taking photographs and moving closer. Then, at about the 1-minute mark, the bison charges, chasing after one young boy who just escapes being trampled.
Anderson submitted his thoughts to us on this captured video to remind tourists and especially teens that taunting and approaching animals in their territory is not cool, and that they should respect wildlife living in parks at all times. - Editor
The bison is the largest land mammal in North America, with bulls weighing upwards of 1,800 pounds. More than 3,000 roam the grasslands at the park. They can charge at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Yellowstone is one of the wildest places left on the planet. It is a place where you can still truly experience the untamed beauty like it was hundreds of years ago. But with all that wildness, there are dangers to consider when you visit. Every year, visitors are hurt or even killed by nature.
I recently watched a YouTube video (below) of a group of kids on a boardwalk along one of Yellowstone’s geothermal features. Along the path was a large bull bison. The children approached the bison foolishly.
I could not help to wonder who was the groups leader or if there were parents that allowed it to happen. There are very strict rules in the park that forbids visitors to approach any wildlife. Bison are some of the most dangerous. When irritated they will charge and gore a human. An injury from a angry bison happens a few times every year. They are also quite forgiving if you respect them and give them the proper space.
The kids or their guardian did not respect the bison and continued to press in closer. The bison even gave them several warnings by demonstrating it’s discomfort through several gestures and body language. The group did not heed the warnings and the bison charged, picking out one of the kids.
Luckily for the kid, he was pretty fast. A bison can sprint as fast as a race horse and weigh a ton. The bison chased the kids over the thermal area and around some trees before giving up. The kids was super lucky. Even the fact that he went off the boardwalk was dangerous.
If the bison didn’t get him, he could have fallen through a thin crust into scalding water from a geothermal spring, another source of injury and death in Yellowstone.
Rules, boardwalks, and information to keep yourself safe are abundant in the National Park. Approaching on foot within 100 yards (91 m) of bears or wolves or within 25 yards (23 m) of other wildlife is prohibited.
I recommend for all visitors to carry bear pepper spray. Though it is designed to stop a charging grizzly bear, it will work on bison, moose and other mammals that are being aggressive. It is a great non-lethal way of saving yourself if you get in an unavoidable situation.
Yellowstone National Park can be one of the best experiences of your life as long as you prepare yourself with knowledge and the right gear, use common sense, and respect all wild things.
About Guest Editor Casey Anderson:
The host of America the Wild With Casey Anderson, Casey grew up in Montana surrounded by wilderness and animals, and was nicknamed the “animal magnet” as a kid. After college, he became an animal keeper and trainer at wildlife parks, traveling to elephant orphanages in Kenya, hanging out with crocodiles, and even getting thrashed by a mountain lion.
Then a baby grizzly bear named Brutus came into his life. Brutus was born in an overpopulated wildlife park. Casey rescued him from being euthanized and built a sanctuary for him, which became Montana Grizzly Encounter, a bear rescue and education facility. Brutus now assists Casey in teaching park visitors about grizzly anatomy and conservation.
Casey has been involved in film and television production for more than 15 years. In December 2011, Casey’s film, Stalking the Mountain Lion With Casey Anderson kicked off the second annual Big Cat Week. Casey and Brutus were also featured in the Nat Geo WILD series Expedition Wild. He has led two expeditions to Botswana’s Okavango Delta for the HD wildlife series Untamed and, working with Brutus, shed light on the fate of Yellowstone’s vulnerable “Island” population of grizzlies in Expedition Grizzly for the National Geographic Channel in April 2009.
You can follow him on Twitter
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