Yellowstone National Park/Twitter
Millions of people are flocking to national parks for family vacations, and some for a safe socially distanced day trip. Places like Yellowstone National Park are used to seeing bumper to bumper traffic at the peak of tourist season, with many tourists stopping traffic to catch a glimpse of many of the wildlife the park has to offer.
But, recently a group of motorists got more than they bargained for when they got the opportunity to witness a rare sight at the park. Those who have visited Yellowstone know that park wildlife is in abundance, with herds of buffalo often congregating on the roadways. The buffalo are generally docile and non-aggressive, but when it’s mating season, things can get downright intense.
Yellowstone National Park shared a 9-second video clip to its social media pages that showed how quickly things can escalate between two male bison when they’re in competition for a female. In the clip, all seems calm when suddenly a bison charges a smaller male, slamming into his side and pushing him across the road. The smaller bison is lifted off the ground and carried across the road before turning and walking away.
“Bison mating season is still going on in the park,” Yellowstone officials wrote of the video that was filmed from a bystander’s car. “Male bison are particularly aggressive right now, though all bison and other wildlife can be dangerous. Remember to always keep your distance — 25 yards from bison and elk; 100 yards from all other wildlife.”
More than 5,000 free-ranging bison inhabit Yellowstone National Park. The males grow to roughly 2,000 pounds can run up to 30 mph and jump 5-feet high.
Earlier this year a woman visiting the park was nearly struck by a charging bison, but survived after falling down and playing dead. In the video captured by onlookers, a woman and her companion can be seen running from a pair of bison. The woman falls to the ground as her companion continues to run. One of the bison stopped, but another continued to charge, stopping just short of the woman on the ground.
Onlookers can be heard yelling for the woman to play dead. The bison stood over her, sniffing her as she played dead. The bison eventually walks off and the woman got up, with the help of her companion, and left the scene uninjured.
Other park visitors haven’t been so lucky. In July, a 72-year-old woman from California was gored when she got too close to a bison in one of the park’s campgrounds. Witnesses claim that the woman repeatedly got within arms reach of the bison as she attempted to take photos. The bison eventually turned on the woman and threw her 10-15 feet and attacked her again when she regained consciousness and tried to get up.
Park visitors are strongly encouraged to maintain a safe distance from all wildlife.