Another year, another tourist who doesn't understand national parks are not petting zoos and wildlife is, in fact, wild.
A video of a group of tourists posted earlier this week shows the friends stopped on the boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park near one of the park's ever-present, notoriously-not-friendly bison. One woman reaches her hand out to pet the bison while another takes a picture.
The woman attempting to touch the bison quickly gets a reality check as the bison lunges at her in warning, bucking its head and its horns toward her. The woman is clearly shocked and frightened as she stumbles backward, tripping over the boardwalk in a scramble to get away. Her group can be heard in the background with frightened screams at the close call.
One of the bison's horns actually does snag the sweater the woman has tied around her waist. But other than the unintentional hook, the bison goes back to its business, clearly unfazed by the experience—but also clear with its own boundaries for human interaction.
The boardwalk video has surfaced the same week as another clip of a woman trying to take a selfie inches away from a resting bison at a different part of Yellowstone, Biscuit Basin. This tourist is clearly unaware of the strength and dangers if the giant beast were to turn on her, considering she takes her time snapping multiple selfies.
Both of these tourists were very lucky the bison didn't act more aggressively or get one of their very sharp horns hooked in them.
Moreover, it highlights how important it is for everyone who's headed into a national park to educate themselves on what the purpose of the park is. National parks are not playgrounds for tourists. They're protected areas to allow us to witness nature in its wild, untouched state—emphases on the un-touch.