Park Visitors Being Attacked After Playing Sickening \


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The thing that fills me with wonder and dread every time I read the myriad of warning labels slapped on every commercial product available in America is that they’re on there for a reason. Therefore, when washing machines come with exhortations not to put someone inside of it and turn it on, it’s likely being done because someone, somewhere not only tried that but thought it was a good idea.

They can’t actually put warning labels on parks, but if they could, Lone Elk Park, Missouri, would be a top contender. Set in an unincorporated area of St. Louis County, Lone Elk Park is popular because elk roam around freely, and plenty of tourists come to see the low-rent moose in an unusual habitat close to the Gateway City.

Unfortunately, several wildlife-watchers have been gored by elk recently. Why, you may ask? Have the elk contracted rabies or distemper? Did the people get aggressive with the elk? Was there a scent on their clothing that triggered some sort of response from the animals?

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Nope. As it turns out, they were trying to get selfies with the elk.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the latest incident occurred on Sunday, when a group of two women and two men were walking along a path and taking selfies. A wildlife photographer who witnessed the encounter says he heard the distinctive “bugle” call from a bull elk, which can be used both to attract a mate and warn interlopers to stay away.

Given that these Mensa members didn’t even think twice about taking selfies with bulls, it’s somewhat unlikely they knew or much cared what a male elk’s bugle sounds like or means. In fact, a photographer said they actually approached the elk.

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“It was startling,” photographer Kent Burgess said. “I saw the dominant bull moving toward them and I tried to yell at them to get away.”

That didn’t work, and lo and behold, the bull “first slowly approached them before lowering its head and charging.” Its antlers gored the arm of one of the women in the group.

“There was a lot of blood on her arm and on her face,” Burgess said. He ended up driving them to safety.

“I was so upset,” Burgess said Monday. “I just want people to know what can happen when you get so close.”

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The incident is the second goring in two weeks at a park which usually only sees one per year. And those are just the unfortunates who ended up getting gored. As the Post-Dispatch notes, there are several YouTube videos showing elk charging the foolhardy who got too close. It’s worth noting that elk are also most dangerous during mating season, which takes place from the middle of August to December (now, in other words).

The park exhorts visitors to stay 100-feet away and additional notices tell tourists that elk are more dangerous during mating season, but the videos show self-absorbed park listeners clearly aren’t listening. Apparently, warning signs work just as well as warning labels.

Tom Ott, assistant director of the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation, reminded tourists that most large, antlered members of the deer family do not have the equanimous manner and social graces of Bullwinkle, something I’m surprised needs repeating in 2017.

“Some people unfortunately think elk are this gentle, tame animal, but that’s just not true,” Ott said. “They are wild animals. These people who are walking up to them are asking for trouble.”

Look, people. Getting iPhone selfies in ridiculous situations is not a game. It’s stupid. It’s perhaps the most boring way you can declare your candidacy for the Darwin Awards. Also, while we’re at it, elk are not like lap dogs and those big pointy things on their head aren’t there just because they look dope.

Please, for the love of Pete, just stop it.

H/T The Daily Caller

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