Make Approaching Wildlife Illegal

bison by jack dykinga

Target: President Barack Obama

Demand: Protect wildlife at Yellowstone National Park by prohibiting the approaching of wildlife by tourists.

A 16-year-old girl was gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park recently. Reports say the girl, an exchange student from Taiwan, was posing for a picture in front of the animal when he attacked her.

Park rangers urge visitors to stay at least 25 feet from all animals, but they say the girl was between 3 and 6 feet away. Every year people are attacked in this way because they get too close to animals.

Urge President Obama to pass a law requiring people to stay 25 feet away from wildlife to protect animals and people from danger.


Dear President Obama,

A 16-year-old girl was gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park recently. Sources say she was only 3 to 6 feet away from the animal despite signs warning visitors to stay at least 25 feet away.

Park rangers say that this happens every year. Serious injuries and deaths occur because people get too close to wildlife. If there were a law prohibiting people getting too close to wild animals, perhaps this would prevent further injuries and deaths.

We the undersigned urge you to make it illegal for people to come within 25 feet of a wild animal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jack Dykinga

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  1. I think this law is a waste of time. What about common sense? Some people don’t use their brain, and to turn park rangers into wary eyed cops is not going to make their already hard job easier. Just post more signs. If people are going to be stupid laws aren’t going to change it. What about professionals? Will they need to get special ids showing their status, what kind of wildlife? If you make approaching wildlife illegal that bans hunting, hurts private land management and animal wildlife rescuers. This is a POORLY thought out law, and there is no way it would pass as a Federal Bill.

    • This already is a law for national parks (where hunting is generally illegal, anyway). It is illegal under federal law for anyone to willingly reach close enough to ANY wildlife in a national park such that it disturbs or displaces the animal. Everyone who is injured by willingly approaching too closely to a bison, bear, etc., looking for a selfie (or whatever they’re doing) has broken the law, and their injuries are the consequences (I don’t know if there are fines, etc. as well, but I wouldn’t be surprised). If you willingly approach a bison in Yellowstone, and it reacts to you, you are breaking the law if you do not back out immediately. If you accidentally stumble into one on a trail, you are not breaking the law, unless you willingly remain and disturb the animal further.

      Enforcing it is near impossible at places like Yellowstone, however, so people get hurt breaking that law.

      This petition is useless, because the law it is calling for already exists.

      Scientists and animal specialists have special qualifications allowing them special access at wildlife, and their approaching wildlife is done under safety precautions illegal for the layperson. Some do have to have special permits in some areas, and all are recognized by the national park they’re operating in, in some form or another. But the national parks are protected, public lands, with special, strict laws and regulations. The law existing about this does not affect those mentioned in that concern, as those roles are either not applicable or already covered appropriately by the existing laws.

      Again, the petition is pointless, because it already exists. It is just impossible to enforce, because stupid people do stupid things, and the national park service has nowhere near enough funds to watch over every stupid person visiting the parks–especially not the busier parks.

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