A woman taking pictures in Yellowstone National Park got too close to an elk mom and the animal fake-charged her, causing her to trip and fall. A video of the encounter has gone social media nuts.
Just as wildlife guide Jody Tibbitts tries to warn the woman that she is too close — "Ma'am, could you please …" — the cow elk charges, causing the woman to trip and fall to the ground, WyoFile
"I was just going to tell you you were too close to that elk, and that's why," Tibbitts says in the video. "Twenty-five yards, ma'am."
Tibbitts posted the video on Facebook, where it had been viewed more than a million times by Friday morning.
The elk didn't get too near the woman, and backed away when she fell, Tibbitts told CNN
. It was a lucky break for the photographer, he said, as a female elk weighing as much as 500 pounds can cause serious injury or death if she thinks her young are threatened.
Tibbits, a nature guide with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, said attitudes toward wildlife have changed during the 25 years he's been a guide.
"Prior to having high definition cameras in our pockets, people seemed more courteous to animals," Tibbitts told CNN. "It seems like people are being more brave and taking more chances and not thinking about the consequences."
National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson told ABC News
that national parks are seeing a record number of visitors. Dangerous encounters also are drawing notice.
"There is just kind of an ignorant danger, and then there is a whole other level of the really self-obsessed selfie shooters — and what they do is try to close the distance between them and the animal," Olson said. "We would much rather be doing interpretive programs and answering questions about that mountain, that lake than writing tickets and hauling people to the hospital."
Dangerous and illegal encounters at the park this year have included visitors approaching bison for photos and placing a newborn bison calf in a vehicle, said a National Park Service said in a news release. The bison calf was euthanized after attempts to reunite it with the herd failed.
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