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Cat Ellis

Clueless tourist tries to get elk's attention by yelling – it works a little too well

Bull elk.

A tourist has been caught on camera learning the hard way that however docile they may seem at first, elk aren't animals to be trifled with.

In a video that appears to have been shot at a US National Park (possibly Grand Canyon), the man and a companion approach a pair of elk grazing the meagre grass at the roadside. For some reason he decides to shout at them, which doesn't go down well; one of the two makes a sudden charge, resulting in the man running away squealing and swearing, any dignity in tatters.

The clip, which you can see below, was shared this week on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which highlights bad behavior at sites of natural beauty throughout the US and around the world. Be warned, the video contains bad language.

They might not look it, but the NPS warns that "elk are one of the most dangerous animals in Grand Canyon National Park." Although they aren't usually aggressive, they will defend themselves if they or their young are threatened, and visitors are advised to stay at least 100ft away at all times.

Females (cows) are most likely to be aggressive during the spring when they are protecting calves, while males (bulls) are more prone to charge during the rutting season in the fall, when they are competing for dominance and the right to mate,

Deliberately touching, disturbing or frightening wildlife at National Parks is a crime, and those found guilty can expect a hefty fine or even jail time. In 2021, a woman was jailed after intentionally approaching a grizzly bear and her two cubs at Yellowstone National Park and refusing to move away when asked, even after the sow charged.

“Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish," said Bob Murray, acting US attorney for Wyoming, at the time. "Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”

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