Stupid things tourists do in national parks, according to rangers

A black bear and three bear cubs chase tourists on a bridge in Yellowstone National Park.

Many have ridiculed a pair of tourists who attempted to "rescue" a bison calf from Yellowstone National Park in the USA because they thought it was cold.

The newborn calf was not cold. In fact, it was perfectly fine, until its mother rejected it because of human interference. The calf was abandoned, and had to be euthanised.

It wasn't the first time a visitor to a national park has behaved foolishly, and it won't be the last. 

Park rangers have revealed some of the stupidest things they have witnessed on the job in a new thread on Reddit - and while some of the tales are hilarious, others are downright dangerous, to both the tourists and the wildlife.

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One user, who worked as a firefighter in a national forest, reported seeing people trying to take selfies with a bear.

Another user described a tourist in Yellowstone who became upset when the ranger wouldn't let her go and pet a bear cub. "She brought lunch meat to entice it closer to her. Lady, your arm is lunch meat to a bear."

One user recalled two busloads of Chinese tourists surrounding a pair of bull moose fighting at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA. "Naturally when the fight ended the moose charged in opposite directions through the crowd and hospitalised several."


Other animal-related incidents involved tourists in the Everglades National Park in Florida, USA, trying to steal baby alligators.

"This is utterly stupid, not only for the fact that they grow up to be full size gators, but because when the little gators feel threatened, they cry, which attracts all the adult mama gators in the area," the user said.

Another ranger saw a boy attempting to take a selfie less than 10 feet away from two adult male caribou.

"They could have charged and he wouldn't have seen them coming," the user said.

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Other tourists had clearly "watched too much Discovery Channel", as one ranger who worked in Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness area put it.

Some decided to try and abandon civilisation and live off the land there, but didn't even bring a fishing rod, gun or tent.

"After a couple days, they'd get bored and cold and hungry and walk back out the way they'd come in."

One user described hearing a commotion coming from the lobby of the visitor centre of a national park.

"I head over to find an entire tourist family crying and screaming and the park staff trying their best to manage the situation. Then the air shifts and it hits me.

"They had applied a liberal amount of BEAR SPRAY all over themselves and the entire lobby. Apparently, they had mistaken the wording of 'bear repellent' and had assumed it was to be used like mosquito repellent."

Bear spray is a strong form of pepper spray which is meant to be used at close range on aggressive bears.

In perhaps the most maddening story of all, one ranger said they once had a lady get "really mad" at them because the trees in the park looked exactly the same as the ones in her backyard.

As the ranger said: "That's... not my fault."

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