A video that shows a “stressed out” bull elk charging at a tourist in Estes Park, Colorado, has gone viral on social media.
The video, filmed by Megan Foster, was posted to Instagram on Sunday by a popular Instagram account called TouronsOfYellowstone. It has amassed over 109,000 views and more than 200 comments, many calling the tourist an “idiot.” You can watch the full video here.
Rachael Gonzales, a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told Newsweek that elk sightings are common in Estes Park.
Interacting With Elk
“It’s not uncommon to see elk hanging out in and around the downtown area and along the roads,” Gonzales said. “This time of year, wildlife watchers will come from all over just to experience the elk ‘rut’ and listen to the bulls (males) bugle and battle and show their dominance to impress the cows (females) for a chance to mate.”
Spotting elk can be exciting; however, Gonzales reminds tourists to “keep a safe distance” from all wildlife.
“We all want that one video or photo of a bugling elk that goes viral, but it’s not worth risking your safety or life to get one,” Gonzales said. “If the animals you are observing have their heads up, ears pointed toward you, or appear ‘jumpy’ or nervous when you move, you are probably too close, and it’s time to move away.”
To safely capture a photo or video of an elk, Gonzales advised people to use a “long-range telephoto lens” or the zoom function on their cameras. She also said tourists can use the “rule of thumb” to determine if they are too close to an elk.
“Make a thumbs up, extend your arm all the way, close one eye and see if you can hide the animal with your thumb. If you can’t hide the entire animal with your thumb, take a few steps back and try again,” Gonzales said. “When you can hide the whole animal, this means you are a safe distance from wildlife, but this doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.”
In Foster’s video, a crowd of people stops and stares at a bull elk seen standing near a group of cows. Unfortunately, many of them, two men in particular, appear to be standing too close to the animal, so it begins to pace.
“This went on for 15 minutes,” read the video’s caption. “The [bull] was so stressed out—it was sad.”
The bull eventually stared at one of the men and bugled, but the man doesn’t move. Without warning, the bull turns and charges at the other man standing off to its left and sends him running.
“Yes!” Foster shouts as the man runs away.
Viewers slammed the tourists for standing so close to the bull and called them “idiots.”
“People are crazy! These are WILD animals, not pets!!” phenomenalcat52 exclaimed.
“Clueless is NOT the proper word for these bozos! He could have died, what a dumba**!” garyfromegotrip wrote.
“THOSE IDIOTS!” barbara_baileyporter commented.
“People will never learn,” larrosa646 added. “Play stupid games, win stupid [prizes].”
Newsweek reached out to Megan Foster for comment.
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