A tourist was gored by a bull elk in Estes Park, Colorado, on Sunday while filming video footage within a group of elk cows, according to Jennifer Churchill, the public information officer for the northeast region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Churchill told Outside on Wednesday that the man was treated and released later that evening but could still face charges.
According to Churchill, the man was injured when the bull came at him from behind, gored him with its antlers, and knocked him to the ground. CPW workers are examining the man’s footage to decide whether to fine him $100 for harassment of the animal. Churchill told Outside that getting close to the animals is “totally inappropriate and unsafe.”
Sunday’s incident is only the most recent example of humans injured by animals while attempting to take footage of or with wildlife at an unsafe distance. One woman was injured by a bison in Yellowstone National Park in July while attempting to take a selfie. Waterton Canyon, south of Denver, Colorado, was closed to the public at the end of August, partially due to the number of visitors attempting to take “bear selfies,” according to a post on Denver Water’s blog.
Despite recent headlines, Churchill said she has not seen an increase of injuries in her region. “People are always the same level of stupid with animals,” she said.
If an animal attacks, CPW must decide whether to euthanize it. The animal in Sunday’s incident will not be put down since the elk could not be identified after a 12-hour delay in notifying CPW of the incident.