An Oregon man was arrested for allegedly taunting a large bison in Yellowstone National Park.
A tourist shot a video of the encounter, which shows the man lunging at the massive animal while making noises and arm gestures in the middle of a paved park road. At one point, the bison lowers his head and charges at him.
According to Yellowstone’s website, bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Park safety regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards from bison and elk while remaining at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
The woman who videoed the disturbance can be heard yelling that she can’t watch anymore.
Raymond Reinke, 55, of Pendleton, was taken into custody around 10:45 p.m. on Thursday by Glacier National Park rangers, KRTV-TV news reported. He was booked into the Yellowstone jail and was scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
Initially, Yellowstone rangers received several wildlife harassment reports from concerned visitors, KRTV reported. After locating Reinke, they issued him a citation for a court appearance. The video of the event surfaced after the citation was given, the report stated. After the video went viral, the assistant U.S. attorney requested Reinke's bond be revoked. The request was granted and later that night, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Glacier National Park rangers were also called to the Many Glacier Hotel on Thursday because two guests were arguing and creating a disturbance in the hotel dining room. Reinke was allegedly involved in that disturbance.
Reinke allegedly caused other national park disturbances this week.
He was arrested by rangers at Grand Teton National Park for an alleged drunk and disorderly conduct incident on July 28. Reinke was taken to Teton County Jail and was later released on bond, according to the TV station.
On July 31, Reinke went to Yellowstone National Park, where rangers stopped his vehicle on a traffic violation. Reinke was reportedly a passenger and he was cited for failure to wear a seat belt.
Is harassing national park wildlife illegal?
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk told media that harassing wildlife in any national park is illegal.
In a Facebook post, Wenk wrote:
The individual's behavior in this video is reckless, dangerous, and illegal. We need people to be stewards of Yellowstone, and one way to do that is to keep your distance from wildlife. Park regulations require people to stay at least 25 yards from animals like bison and elk, and 100 yards from bears and wolves. These distances safeguard both visitors and the remarkable experience of sharing a landscape with thousands of freely-roaming animals. People who ignore these rules are risking their lives and threatening the park experience for everyone else.