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Though national parks officials welcome visitors to enjoy America’s natural beauty — with several free national park days this year — they’re warning them not to emulate the actions of one man caught on video challenging and then getting charged by a bison at Yellowstone National Park.
“The individual’s behavior in this video is reckless, dangerous and illegal,” park superintendent Dan Wenk said on Facebook. “We need people to be stewards of Yellowstone, and one way to do that is to keep your distance from wildlife.”
In the video, taken Tuesday evening, a bison stands on a road among several stopped cars. The man, wearing an aquamarine T-shirt, shorts and white socks without shoes, walks up to the animal, beats his chest and seems to growl at it, enraging it. He narrowly avoids getting hit when the bison charges at him.
On Friday, authorities announced they had arrested Raymond Reinke, 55, of Pendlelon, Oregon, on Thursday night after a warrant had been issued for his arrest. He faces federal charges of disturbing wildlife; being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that endangers himself or others; interference/resisting; making unreasonable noise; and storing an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle. Several of the charges stem from other incidents involving Reinke at Grand Teton National Park and Glacier National Park. He was arrested during an allegedly drunken argument at a hotel near Glacier National Park and was jailed, and is scheduled for a court appearance on Aug. 8.
Parks have seen an increasing problem with visitors interfering with wild animals, whether with good intentions or ill. Two years ago, a buffalo calf had to be euthanized after guests took it into their SUV because they thought it looked cold. Others have been injured trying to take selfies with wild animals at the park. And in June, a park worker was attacked by an elk in Yellowstone, part of a recent trend of general weirdness at the park.
Wenk reiterated that people need to stay well away from wild animals at national parks.
“Park regulations require people to stay at least 25 yards from animals like bison and elk, and 100 yards from bears and wolves,” he said. “These distances safeguard both visitors and the remarkable experience of sharing a landscape with thousands of freely roaming animals. People who ignore these rules are risking their lives and threatening the park experience for everyone else.”
And, naturally, when you do decide to go to America’s national parks, you can keep your bank account healthier by staying at nearby points hotels.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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