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Yellowstone National Park Bison Unhappy With Photo Shoot Tosses Pennsylvania Boy


Yellowstone National Park bison, while decidedly photogenic, should not be used as props in family photos. NPS photo.

A 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy has been hospitalized after a Yellowstone National Park bison, evidently perturbed that he was part of a family photo shoot, tossed the boy about 10 feet into the air.

While park regulations dictate that visitors get no closer than within 25 yards of bison, and no more than 100 yards of bears and wolves, the family reportedly was standing within 2 feet of the bison while trying to take the picture this morning. Visitors reportedly warned the family they were too close to the bison.

The incident occurred just off the trail adjacent to the Uncle Tom’s Trail parking lot along the South Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The bull’s horns did not puncture the boy, and the only outward injuries he suffered were abrasions possibly received from hitting the ground after the fall. However, the boy complained of abdominal pain and so was transported by ambulance to the Lake Clinic and then flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

The name and hometown of the injured juvenile aren’t being released. His current condition is not available.


Back on the original topic:

1. Thankfully it doesn't sound like the child was seriously hurt, since the parents were primarily the ones at fault.
2. Earlier comments about the irresponsible parents are right on target.
3. Legal action against the parents would certainly be justified, but my guess is it's unlikely to occur, since it would appear in some circles to be uncaring in light of the child's injuries.
4. We can only hope any media coverage of this situation will help reinforce the need to follow sensible guidelines when viewing wildlife.

I hear that the diesease is actually coming from the ELK and that info is from a park employee. He said it has to do with the almighty green in that the Elk bring in too much money during hunting season so they wont slaughter the elk. Said its very policital. So because of the almighty green is the Bison that suffer. Supposidly park service knows of this and is going along with it. Slaughering innocent bison.
Also, whats to say that animals DON'T have emotions??? I think people try to tell themselves they dont because it makes it easier on them in situations like this to try to care less.
I saw a bird with a broken wing flopping along side of the road and said out loud "oh thats sad..." A tour guide spoke up and said "thats nature folks" in a snotty way...I replied " if we treated ourselves the same way I"d feel better about it" We get a sniffle and we are at the doctors, we break an arm and someone fixes it, but when it happens to an animal, its nature. We have removed ourselves so far from nature we forget that we are in fact part of it.
Let the Bison live. At least test to see if they are positive.

Some of us have gotten way of topic here ! Another discussion whould be more appropriate for the "let the wildlife roam" topic, which by the way I do support !

This discussion is about the stupidity and recklessness of some tourists. Why can't the superintendent of Yellowstone set fines for such behaviour ? These people should be fined AND pay for all the emergency services they required. Some people do not pay attention until the issue hits them in the checkbook. Can these kind of rules be made by the local NPS ?

Well, Ann & Jim, just an example of how the NPS is being politically undermined in this process, in case you did not know it:

During the Clinton Administration (YES, the CLINTON ADMINISTRATION) the Congress went Republican. That meant Republicans got control of the NPS budget through the Appropriations Committee. The situation got so coercive that the Republican congressional staff member who controlled the NPS budget in the House of Representative tuned the Clinton's own Assistant Secretary for Budget and Administration into a total wimp, to do her bidding, because she could control ALL the money going into all the Department of the Interior agencies, including paying for this guy's office, and his boss' office.

NPS still had some discretion over its budget in those days. When the brucellosis thing hit, NPS used funds taken from its construction budget to do the scientific analysis for the "EIS," without which NPS would have had no basis to fight the Cattlemen or the States. Here is how that Republican congressional staffer shut the NPS freedom of action down:

Using the guise of using the "outhouse" cost overrun scandal [ a new-age experimental design of an outhouse that took no maintenance, and was to be a "green" building, and like a lot of experiments went several times over budget to end up costing almost $1 M, a PR disaster but actually a much smaller issue than what it was deliberately made into ], this congressional staffer forced a reorganization of the access to the funding for all projects in all parks. Any discretionary spending was eliminated, and all projects when through this tyrant's hands. Congress set up a commission to recommend how the reorganization should happen, and designated up to half the membership by NPS people. Well, the wimp Asst. Secretary was so intimidated by the congressional staff tyrant that he prevented the NPS from having ANY seats on the commission about how the money would be spent.

Needless to say, this staffer from Scranton with very little knowledge or park experience micro managed the NPS. No more discretionary funding from project money was availabe to the NPS. That means, when NPS needs to turn on a dime to deal with attacks and challenges, it first had to go through the committee and wait over a year to spend the funding. Even funds raised through fees came through her control, and fee projects took months to approve. The next thing she did was to even get control of FINANCIAL GIFTS TO THE NPS, by insisting that projects funded by donations over a certain amount first needed her permission to go forward. In other words, the Appropriations Committee -- which means this one staffer -- even had control over funds that did not come from tax-payers dollars, and were not appropriated. She had the flimsiest justification that anything NPS takes on may become financially overwhelming and ultimately require bailing out by the appropriations, so she should approve all in advance. And since bureaucrats in Washington who opposed her got investigated and ones who supported her got promoted [example: mary bomar & sue masica] the result is NPS has no real discretionary control any more.

So, that is what happened to the discretionary source of funding used imaginatively by NPS leaders to take on the brucellosis challenge.

Have you noticed what happens to Yellowstone superintendents who fight back? Do you not think Senator Thomas and others made Mike Finley learn he was unwelcome? Finley is still young enough to be superintendent, but he is long out of the NPS. How many superintendents have there been at Yellowstone since the '90's?

Even during the Clinton administration, they couldn't handle the pressure. When the outcry against Babbitt as secretary, who was taking on intrenched interests in the West, got so much that Clinton couldn't handle it (after all, Clinton was on the defensive through most of his Presidency) he even tried to get rid of Babbitt by MOVING HIM TO THE SUPREME COURT ! But they say Babbitt had antagonized so many in the Senate that Clinton learned he could not push Babbitt out that way. But the bottom line is, with the Republicans in conrol of the money, there was little Babbitt could do, and the NPS had virtually no discretion in use of its funding. This kind of micro-management is a new phenom, and it really changes things.

Or does all this just escape you, that NPS is losing the political power it once had?

I think NPS would love to fight the Cattlemen head on, and without the environmental supporters, the park would have no leverage at all.

One other point on this d-2, don't be too quick to put this only on Bush; this process started in earnest under Clinton. In terms of Montana's involvement, it's happened under both Republican and Democratic regimes. This is less about who rules the political machinery and a lot more about who controls the levers of that machinery. In Montana, the livestock industry has disproportionate political leverage based on their numbers and their value to the economy; in the IBMP, they control APHIS. As long as NPS as an agency - regardless of president - does not take a stronger stand against the industry, it's fair to say of it that it's a pawn. It's not a piece exercising it's own power; it's being exercised by someone else. In this case, facts show that livestock interests are controlling the politics and the pawns on the board.

But, the question remains - what is the relationship of policy that hurts animals and herd units in the winter with what they do in the summer. It still strikes me as hypocritical - not that hypocrites shouldn't speak - to call for tourists to stay away from wildlife when the agencies involved don't do the same and in fact bother them in much more profound ways. Of course, tourists should stay away from bison whether a hypocrite tells you or someone else; however, it does bring to light what else is wrong.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

d-2; then you're telling me that if brucellosis wasn't a cattle disease the Park would still just slaughter at will? I think not. They are killing bison because of the cattle and for no other reason. In my opinion, they are being used by the cattlemen's association, and the Stock Growers, as pawns in the all out war to eliminate any competition for grass. Although this is really the wrong place to discuss the idotic policy of APHIS, it is more about the idiotic practices of tourists, and the Park Service allowing it to go unpunished. A thousand dollar fine per person involved in that 'photo' shoot would be a good start in sending a message to visitors, that there are rules in that Park and they are there for a reason.

Gee, Cindy and Ann: Please Chill Out ! All this hostility cannot improve your objectivity. Ann, the NPS is NOT just a pawn of the Cattleman Association, as they are boxed in by a hostile Administration in the White House, whose favorite Governors are actively undermining NPS authority. So it is not an easy political environment for anyone to work in, especially people by profession NOT trained to be smart politically. And Cindy, you are a public servant, and need to develop some empathy for people devoted to your park. They cannot all be like you, and it undermines the Service when Rangers appear to be people-hating. Learn to temper your remarks, and try using some gentleness or a sense of humor.

The enemy are people who don't care, not those who do.

My feelings echo those of the previous contributors in that whoever made the decision to stand so close to the bison was the definition of stupidity. The question I have is who paid for the airlift and subsequent medical transportation? I would hope that the NPS sent any bill to the family as they were entirely responsible for this incident.

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