WATCH: Man Puts Children’s Lives at Risk for Photo Op with Elk
In today's world, it seems like everyone is a photographer. With the rise of social media, people are constantly trying to one-up each other with the most impressive photos. This has led to some dangerous trends, like taking selfies with wild animals.
Parents are especially guilty of this behavior. They see an opportunity for a cute photo op and they don't think twice about putting their children in harm's way. But the truth is, taking pictures with wildlife can be very dangerous.
Every year, hundreds of people are injured or killed while trying to take pictures with wild animals. In fact, more than 50% of all selfie-related deaths involve an animal. And many of these victims are children.
Man risks kid's lives for a photo with a bull elk
This video that was shared by southeast.alaska on Instagram is a perfect example. We have what appears to be a parent trying to snap his kids in the foreground between him and a bull elk with a full rack. A mature bull elk can weigh as much as 700 pounds and can easily kill a person if they feel threatened. The dad here is literally placing his kids closer to the danger than he's willing to be himself.
Common sense will save lives
So what can you do to safely take pictures of nature? The best thing to do is to stay away from wild animals. If you're somewhere like Yellowstone and stumble across a herd of bison, bears, or elk while driving, stay in your car. Invest in a decent lens so you can maintain distance from your subject. And always keep your distance. This seems like basic common sense but if the animal you're trying to snap wouldn't be a welcome houseguest, then you don't want to be walking towards it.
How close can you get to wild animals
If you see a predator, like bears or wolves the recommended distance to keep between you and the animal is 100 yards. For non-predators (but still dangerous animals) like bison or elk, it's 25 yards. The signs are there for a reason
Don't let your next photo op turn into a tragedy. Be safe and enjoy the beauty of nature from afar.