Unfortunately, this is becoming way too common: someone sees a big animal at a state or national park and decides it’s safe to approach, take selfies and pet the animal. No, people! Just no.

The most recent case to appear in my Facebook newsfeed is of a woman who was gored after approaching a bison at Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Custer County South Dakota Emergency Management posted about the incident on its Facebook page:

A 50 year old woman from Missouri did not heed the warning signs from a 5 year old bull buffalo today in Custer State Park and was gored. She was lifeflighted to Rapid City Regional hospital.

The post was accompanied by two photos: one of the woman reaching out to pet the animal and another of her being loaded into a helicopter.

“According to a Custer State Park official, the buffalo involved will not be put down. And he wants to remind everyone to head the warning signs that are posted all over the park that say 'buffalo are dangerous do not approach,'” Custer County South Dakota Emergency Management later posted on the Facebook thread.

This incident was in South Dakota, but we are hearing about these incidents more and more, especially in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Recently, a video of a woman approaching and petting a bison in Yellowstone drew media attention from all over the world.

There’s a Facebook page entirely devoted to these incidents in Yellowstone. The “Yellowstone Idiots” page shows people being chased by bears, getting in the middle of a herd of bighorn sheep to snap photos and, of course, petting bison.

Don’t be a “Yellowstone Idiot” or a Custer State Park idiot, or any other kind of idiot for that matter. Keep your distance from the animals. Even though you can get that close to the animals doesn’t mean you should. These are still wild places, not petting zoos, people.

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