(BrightPress.org) – A foolish woman thought it was a good idea to attempt to pet a 2,000 lb bison in Yellowstone during a recent trek through the famous park. Viral footage captured the moment the woman reached out to pet the huge animal when it suddenly reared its head, clearly not in the mood. The woman stumbled back screaming, but thankfully that’s where the interaction ended and she wasn’t severely injured.
LiveScience documented three separate bison attacks that all occurred within a month of each other back in 2022. One or two people are generally injured by bison every year, which is why the National Park Service recommends people stay at least 25 yards or 75 feet away from the animals during their visits to the park. They warn parkgoers that the beasts can launch adult men into the air “like rag dolls.”
Cute Disney-inspired selfies are not worth the risk.
On the other end of the spectrum, folks are far less likely to be attacked by sharks. While the raw numbers make shark attacks (~16 per year in the US) appear more common, bison are limited to Yellowstone, and the number of people exposed to them is far less than those swimming with sharks unawares.
Researchers from SoCal used drones to observe great white sharks and surprisingly they tend to ignore humans. Marine biology professor and director of California State University’s Shark Lab Chris Lowe said that we don’t have an accurate estimate of the risk of being bitten by a shark because we don’t know how many people dip into the oceans per year. He believes are odds are much better than most people think.
Lowe said that they have a new study coming out using drones that observed people in relative proximity to the aquatic monsters without suffering an attack. Many folks will recall the great white shark was the star character in the 1970s classic film, Jaws. That film shocked audiences and kept people out of the water for years after its release. Dramatic stories also circulate, keeping the idea of a shark attack alive in the minds of people.
Only when we properly understand the risks and behaviors of animals in the wild can we truly estimate the risk to physical safety posed by bison selfies or swims in the ocean.
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