Suggested soundtrack for this post:
This started playing in my head as soon as I started reading this article.
It happens almost every year, someone, normally its a bus load of Japanese tourists, but not always, makes the mistake of thinking Yellowstone National Park is a petting zoo. The park is special to me, I used to live there, so I can speak with some authority on this. Every visitor gets a hand full of papers when they drive through the gate. Mostly these are pamphlets on park attractions. Most of these have a warning on them: "Don't disturb the wildlife".
The park hands these warnings out and posts signs reminding visitors that wildlife is in fact wild. Some people just don't get it. They have to try to pet the animals or pretend that they are an National Geographic photographer, or Jane Goodall or something. When the park service closes hiking trails due to bear activity, they do stuff like ignore the closing and hike the trail anyway. I have a funny story about that, remind me to share it sometime. They have to go check out wolf kill sites. They like to try to see why all the cow elk are circled looking out. That moose looks so tame, I think I'll get a picture of me petting it. True statistic: in 1950 most of the rattlesnake bites reported to the park service, were located on the ankle or calf. In 1994 most snake bites where located on the face, neck and upper torso. Did rattlesnakes learn to jump higher in 54 years? No tourists just got dumber. In the 50's snake encounters were the result of not seeing the snake and stepping on or near it. In the 90's snake bites were the result of SEEING the snake and getting down on the ground close to it to take a picture. Yet another proof of the infallibility of biological evolution.
BTW, I don't count snake encounters as proof that a person is a total moron. I've been bitten once and had several near misses myself. All of them accidental, if I see a snake its shoot first, collect the tail latter. Then again, I have thousands of hours of time spent in the outdoors in wild locations. I should point out, I've never been bitten on the face while taking a picture of a rattlesnake getting ready to strike.
Here is a video of Cathy Hayes and her summer vacation to Yellowstone:
Cathy is a school teacher, so her IQ is somewhat in doubt to begin with. She decided that "do not disturb the wildlife" means: "go ahead and chase a buffalo across the parking lot". After all buffalo are known for their enjoyment of fun loving games like tag. They so miss the days when the Indians used to chase them across the plains. It would be wrong to just leave them alone. The real kicker comes when someone decided that chasing wasn't enough and they wanted to get that extra bit of playground humor and threw a stick at the buffalo. After being chased across the parking lot, the stick must have been too much like the old days of Indians and arrows and the buffalo decided to run off the pests.
Which he did. Good on you Mr. buffalo.