Aug 20, 2015

Did you see that bison-tourist photo? Here’s the story behind it

A photograph of a tourist reaching toward a bison in Yellowstone National Park was widely shared on social media and by a couple local news outlets in recent days. Unfortunately, the photo often was shared without attribution to photographer Ed Rader and without much other information.

Rader said in an email that while he posted the shot to his Instagram account last week, he actually took the photo on his first trip to Yellowstone, back in 2013. Believe it or not, he snapped photos of both men approaching and posing with the bull.

The men thought they were safe... Photo courtesy Ed Rader

...feeling comfortable enough to each take turns approaching the male bison. Photo courtesy Ed Rader

“Those were the first buffalo we saw,” Rader said. “Those guys caused quite a ruckus with other visitors. One fellow yelled at that and told them they were idiots.”

After the men finished taking turns touching the bull and photographing one another, Rader spoke with them.

“One told me that they were never in danger because the bull (an alpha) showed no signs of aggression,” he recalled. “They were right about the second part but obviously they were in danger.”

That lesson is sometimes learned the hard way: Five visitors have been gored by bison in Yellowstone after getting too close to bison this summer.

Park visitors are supposed to stay at least 25 yards away from bison.

Rader is a professional photographer who lives in Silicon Valley. More of his work can be viewed at http://erader.zenfolio.com/

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