Just to be clear, this wildlife petting chart provided by the National Park Service is a joke meant to draw attention to the pervasive problem of tourists getting too close to wildlife and in no way encourages actually petting bison.
Just wanted to clarify that because it’d be the same nimrods out there actually trying to pet bison that would see this infographic and think that it condones their actions.
Remember folks, National Park regulations require that you stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife (including bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. Disregarding these guidelines can result in fines, injury, and even death.
Here’s the NPS’s message to visitors encountering wildlife:
It’s summer! Time to dust off the old chart…
We all know national parks offer a unique experience for watching wildlife. But with that privilege comes responsibility. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and for the safety of the animals, too. Simply put, keep your distance—no touching, no feeding, no harassing. For those that do follow the rules and give animals the room they need, THANK YOU!
Share this message far and wide with those who don’t follow parks online or may need an extra reminder that a 2,000 pound bison always has the right of way. Also, though the squirrels at Grand Canyon National Park may do a spot on impression of Oliver Twist, please, sir, they don’t need more of your snacks. We want everyone to have a safe and memorable experience in the parks, animals included.