Park Service: To Avoid Risk Of Animal Attack, Stop Trying To Get Up Close & Personal

Image courtesy of afagen

It’s that time of year again: the weather is nice, and our nation’s parks are full of visitors who want to check out all that nature has to offer. But yet again the National Park Service finds itself forced to remind folks that if they don’t want to find themselves facing down, say, a charging bison, you shouldn’t try to get too close just for the sake of a souvenir photo.

After a woman visiting Yellowstone National Park last week was charged by an elk she’d crept up to — with her camera extended in front of her — in the hopes of snapping a better picture, the agency warned folks yet again that all your efforts to nab the greatest photo of all time/that day on your friends’ social media feeds could put you in danger, as well as wildlife.

“People generally are just so excited to be in a park and the next cool thing is if they can get a picture of wildlife and then the third thing is ‘Can I get a picture of me and the wildlife?'” a spokesman for NPS told ABC News (warning: link has video that auto plays).

You should stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, he says, and 25 yards from all other wildlife, he adds. And don’t touch the animals — nature is not your personal petting zoo (and it’s illegal).

“If you’re going to do a selfie, you have to use the widest lens you can,” the spokesman added.

Besides, the agency has better things to do than keep telling people not to mess with wild animals.

“We would much rather be doing interpretive programs and answering questions about that mountain, that lake,” he said, “than writing tickets and hauling people to the hospital.”

After Elk Charged Woman Taking Selfie, National Park Officials Warn of Dangers [ABC News]