Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thinning the Herd

The tourist season hasn’t even officially begun and already several examples of Yellowstone Park idiocy have made their way to YouTube and news outlets. My first indication of a long and dangerous summer was when I watched a YouTube video of Asian tourists standing within arm’s length from the buffalo so they could take selfies with the animals. If that wasn’t dangerous enough, there was a video posted of visitors to the park attempting to pet the bison.

The ultimate display of idiocy occurred when an adult male Canadian tourist thought that a buffalo calf appeared cold, loaded it into his SUV and carted it off to the park rangers. Shamsah Kassam of Quebec was cited for disturbing the wildlife… and the calf was put down after attempts to reintegrate it into the herd were unsuccessful.

Every year several individuals are killed or seriously injured by park wildlife. I know from my experience in Island Park that many visitors have no clue that the animals are wild. I have heard people inquire as to when the moose will be released each day. Others have called Fish and Game to complain the animals are out and eating the flowers in the yard, demanding that the officers retrieve them. Yellowstone Country apparently has the reputation of being the world’s largest petting zoo!

Some individuals laboring under this illusion are in for a very rough summer, perhaps their last. All of the animals of the Yellowstone bite, kick, gore, trample or eat you! Despite the programs on the National Geographic Channel showing the bears, elk, moose, bison and wolves as cute and sympathetic creatures, they consider humans either an annoyance, a danger or dinner… none of these classifications are good from a visitor’s prospective.

Those of you who wish to interact with the wildlife, I would recommend against it, but it is your choice. The next person to hoist a buffalo calf into his vehicle may find that he is face-to-face with momma! Being careless around the critters may result in the removal of your DNA from the gene pool. That’s Mother Nature’s way of saying that a few less idiots procreating may result in a safer environment for humans and wildlife. 

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