Visitors reminded to respect wildlife by keeping a safe distance
Summer is a great time to see wildlife in Grand Teton National Park among wildflowers, sagebrush flats, and meandering creeks. It’s important to view wildlife safely, responsibly and ethically. Treat all wildlife with caution and respect as they are wild, unpredictable and can be dangerous. The safety of visitors and wildlife depends on everyone playing a critical role in being a steward for wildlife by giving them the space they need to thrive – their lives depend on it. On Sunday, June 4, at approximately 1 p.m., two individuals were seen approaching and touching a bison calf at the southern end of Elk Ranch Flats in Grand Teton National Park. The incident is currently under investigation and the park is asking for any information.
If you were in the Elk Ranch Flats area on the afternoon of June 4, and have information that could help in this investigation, or if you know who these individuals are (pictured), please call the park Tip Line 307-739-3367. If you see any harassment of wildlife happening in the park, you may also call the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301 to report the incident.
Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring. In this case, fortunately, the calf was successfully reunited with its herd, but often these interactions result in euthanizing the animal. Approaching wildlife can drastically affect their well-being and survival. The safety of wildlife and visitors, depends on everyone following these simple rules:
- Be alert for wildlife and keep a safe distance. Always maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from other wildlife. Use binoculars, a spotting scope, or a telephoto lens for a good view. Never position yourself between a female and offspring—mothers are very protective. Let wildlife thrive undisturbed. If your actions cause an animal to change their behavior, you are too close. The National Park Service has provided 7 tips on how to watch wildlife safely.
- Do not tease, touch, frighten or intentionally disturb wildlife.
- Roadside viewing is popular, but please keep the road clear. Use pullouts or pull completely off the roadway with all four wheels to the right of the white line.
- It is illegal to feed any wildlife—birds, ground squirrels, bears, foxes, etc. Wildlife will depend on people for food, resulting in poor nutrition and aggressive behavior. If fed, any animal may become unhealthy, bite you, expose you to rabies, or need to be killed.
- To protect wildlife and visitors, the park may close key habitat areas to all travel. Some areas are temporarily closed and others have seasonal closures. For the latest closures, check go.nps.gov/tetonclosures.