A park ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is my hero this afternoon thanks to his actions in the video below.
Watch as he ridicules dozens of moronic tourists for crowing a herd of elk with their phones in hand taking photos and videos.
“HELLO! YOU’RE WAY TOO CLOSE TO THE ELK!”
Good on this ranger for putting people in their places. Their ignorance isn’t necessarily their fault, but hopefully the tone of his voice alerted these fools to how dangerous their behavior really was.
Elk used to be native to the region, but over-hunting eliminated the species entirely from Tennessee in the mid-1800s.
Conservation efforts have allowed elk to grow in population, including in 2001 when the park imported 25 animals from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
There’s now estimated to be 200 elk roaming the park, with the majority concentrated near Cataloochee, North Carolina.
The National Parks service requires all guests to stay at least 50 yards away from elk.
Use the ‘thumb rule’, as described by the park ranger in the video if you’re ever unsure if you’re too close.