Why can’t people resist selfies? More importantly, who turns their backs on bison to snap a selfie?
Brandi Burgess, 43, and her daughter recently stopped at a trailhead in Yellowstone National Park to snap a selfie with a bison, only to find that the bison, which was 6 yards away –park signs warn to stay 25 yards away from all large animals –wasn’t ready for its close-up. The women heard hooves and started to run, but the bison flipped the mother with its head and tossed her like she was a drunken participant at the Running of the Bulls. Luckily, the woman was treated only for minor injuries. According to the National Park Service, it’s the fifth time a person has been injured with an encounter with bison this summer.
Animal attacks on humans are rare, unless of course those animals have the “defiant pupil,” like they do on the kitschy TV show Zoo, in which case every species is a threat to the survival of mankind. Most tourists are attacked by wild animals because they get too close; they scale protective fences to get better photos of lions, or recklessly wade into water that has a warning sign like: No Swimming. Dangerous Hippos. However, there are also the unexplained animal attacks, the freak accidents and chance encounters. Here are 10 examples of lions and tigers and bears! Oh my…
10. Siberian Tigers Kill Man at Copenhagen Zoo
In 2012, a 21-year old man died after suffering severe bites to the throat, chest, and face. A zookeeper found his body in the Siberian tiger den. The zoo’s CCTV footage confirmed that the man climbed over the low wall surrounding the den; he then entered the moat inside the enclosure. It’s unknown why the man climbed the wall and entered the tiger den, but suicide is the most likely motive. It was the first fatality in the zoo’s 152-year history
9. Lion Mauls Reckless Safari Tourist
In 2015, Katherine Chappell, a 29-year-old American woman, was killed by a lion at a wildlife park in South Africa. Lion Park offers self-driven and guided tours. The park guarantees “super-close up views,” and its website states: “Nowhere can you get closer to a pride of lions and still be complexly safe.”
Chappell was in the passenger seat of an SUV taking photos with the window rolled down when a male lion attacked, jumping through the open window. The driver and tour guide were injured as they attempted to help her. Riding with the windows down in Lion Park is strictly prohibited. Chappell died while receiving treatment.
8. Elephant Crushes Encroaching Photographer
Del Yotel Annie, a 66-year old retired schoolteacher, was trampled to death while trying to photograph a herd of elephants in Bokkapuram, India. Her son, Frederick Jean Lue, was also injured in the stampede, as well as two other travel companions. According to the coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature, it was an “avoidable tragedy.” Annie got too close while snapping photographs, which caused the adult elephant and calf to charge.
7. Saltwater Crocodile Attacks Snorkeler
“I wish I could have jumped in front of the croc for Lauren,” said Jito Chadha. “I did everything in my power to save her.”
Lauren Failla and Jito Chadha were snorkeling along a cove off Havelock Island in India’s remote Andaman Island Chain when a 12-foot saltwater crocodile attacked Lauren. The attack was unusual because it took place in open water over a coral reef; crocodiles are typically secretive, preferring to hunt in the refuge of mangroves. Saltwater crocodiles have attacked more than two-dozen people in the Andaman Island Chain over the last quarter century, but none had ever been spotted around Havelock Island.
6. Elephant Tramples British Tourist
Patrick Smith and his wife, Julie, were walking on a natural train in the Masai Mara game reserve in 2006 when the small group of elephants they were observing got startled. A lone elephant charged the couple, trampling Patrick. The British tourist and his wife were on their honeymoon in Kenya.
While it’s uncommon for elephants to kill humans in wildlife reserves, it does happen, especially when humans get too close and encroach on elephant territory. In Patrick Smith’s case, however, all the rules and necessary safety precautions were followed, according to Kenya Wildlife spokesman Connie Maina. His death was a freak accident.
5. Crocodile Kills Night Swimmer
Animal attacks on tourists are common in Australia. Brown snakes, tiger snakes, redback spiders, blue-ring octopus, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles all pose a threat to humans. An experienced Australian tour guide should know the dangers.
In 2002, German tourist Isabel von Jordan was killed by a saltwater crocodile in Kakadu National Park. Despite signs warning against swimming in the Nourlangie Creek, the tour guide gave the go-ahead and the group went swimming. Von Jordan was dragged under the water by a 4.2m long crocodile. Rangers later killed the animal.
4. Mountain Goat Charges Washington State Picnicker
In 2010, 63-year old Robert Boardman was enjoying an afternoon picnic with his friends in Olympic National Park when a mountain goat approached the group. Boardman ushered his friends back to the safety of the car. However, as he tried to wave the goat away, it charged, gouging him in the thigh with its horns. According to eyewitness accounts, the angry goat then stood over Boardman as he bled to death. Park rangers later found and killed the animal, which was known to be aggressive and monitored by park staff for several years. It is the only fatal attack by mountain goat in the park’s history.
3. Siberian Tiger Kills One, Injures Two
On Christmas Day 2007, Tatiana, a 320-pound Siberian tiger, escaped from her tiger grotto at the San Francisco Zoo, killing 17-year old Carlos Sousa Jr. and mauling his two friends, Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal, before being shot and killed. It wasn’t the first time Tatiana showed signs of violence and aggression. In 2006, the tiger clawed and bit a veteran zookeeper, Lori Komejan.
It was never proven but investigators believe Tatiana was provoked into clawing and leaping her way out of the grotto. Jennifer Miller, who was at the zoo with her husband and children at the time, said: “the boys, especially the older one, were roaring at the lions. He was taunting them.”
2. African Wild Dogs Kill Two-Year Old Boy
In 2011, a two-year old boy fell into an animal enclosure at the Pittsburg Zoo and was attacked by 11 African wild dogs. According to Kim McCreery, a senior researcher for the African Wild Dog Conservancy in Tucson, Arizona, African wild dogs have never been known to attack humans in the African bush.
Barbara Baker, the zoo’s president, said that staff responded “within seconds” but quickly determined the attack was fatal. The Pittsburg Zoo has been opened since 1898, and according to Baker there has never been an “a visitor incident of this magnitude.
1. Lion Mauls Woman Having Sex in the Bush
In 2013, Sharai Mawera was mauled by a lion in the Zimbabwean bush. Apparently, Mawera snuck into the African jungle to have sex with a male companion. According to NYDaily News, the couple was having “quality time” when the lion came up behind them and roared. The man fled, screaming for help. A passerby saw the naked man and thought he was mentally ill. (Who has sex in the African bush?) When officials finally arrived and killed the lion, it was too late; Sharai Mawera was dead. At the time, seven lions killed three people in the Kariba safari resort area where Mawera was attacked.