A group of tourists visiting Yellowstone Park on opening day over the weekend witnessed alarming sight: A woman approaching a bison and attempting to pet it.
“Is she stupid?” one of the onlookers can be heard asking in a video of the encounter recorded by a fellow sightseer.
Officials told KRTV-TV Tuesday that local law enforcement is still investigating the case.
Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said the woman’s decision to approach the wild animal broke park regulations and could earn her a fine or potentially multiple fines. “It’s hard to say,” Bartlett told KRTV. “When you harass wildlife, you could face a citation or a mandatory appearance in front of a federal magistrate.”
One witness in the video says, "She's totally antagonizing it. Where are the rangers?"
Bartlett said that the park requires that visitors keep a 25-yard minimum distance from wildlife, regardless of location.
“We don’t restrict animal movements in the parks,” Bartlett explained. “You still need to keep the minimum distance.”
At one point in the video, the bison lifts its head and nudges the woman in her hand as she continues to pet it.
Seconds later, she walks off.
“This woman is extremely lucky. We can’t explain why he didn’t get up,” Bartlett said of the bison, who was lying out in the grass. “His tolerance level hasn’t been tested in quite a few months.”