Outdoors Blog

Watch skiers survive avalanche; Yellowstone bison photos present danger

A couple items that caught my attention today:

▪ The Colorado Avalanche Information Center shared the above video of two skiers who survived an avalanche. The video notes two ways that the skier wearing the camera helped himself.

▪ The Billings Gazette reports that tourists trying to get close to bison because of the limited zoom capabilities of camera phones are getting injured. From Brett French:

Cellphones may be responsible for an increase in the number of bison-related injuries to Yellowstone National Park visitors last year.

That’s a theory raised by Cara Cherry in a recently published report. Cherry is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigator assigned to the National Park Service.

With the short focal length of cellphones, and the increase in the social activity of posting photos while traveling, people may be ignoring park warnings about keeping their distance from bison, Cherry writes.

Injuries to photographers getting too close to Yellowstone bison is nothing new. A 2003 report published in the journal “Yellowstone Science” called bison the most dangerous animals in the park, injuring more people between 1980 and 1999 than any other wild beast.

During that time, bison “made contact with” people 79 times. One year, not identified in the study, there were 13 incidents of bison hitting tourists. In comparison to that, last year seems fairly tame with only five people injured, yet three of those five were seriously hurt.

Two of those three seriously harmed people had been taking photos and moved to within 3 to 6 feet of the bison. In 10 of 36 incidents identified in one period in the 2003 study, the people injured approached to within 2 to 51 feet of bison to photograph or pose with the animals for a photo.

It is illegal for park visitors to get within 100 yards of bears and wolves or 25 yards of other wildlife, including bison. An adult male bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run at speeds up to 35 mph.

Read the rest of the story here.