Elk Reportedly Bites Off Boy’s Fingertip in Rocky Mountain National Park

Here’s one of many reasons to stay away from wild animals in national parks: They bite. In fact, any animal with a mouth can bite, so why get close enough to find out whether the one in front of you will do so or not?

A video posted to the Instagram page @touronsofnationalparks shows a group of tourists much too close to a cow elk at Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s what happens after the video that gets serious.

The person taking the video is Vic Schendel (@vicschendel), a wildlife photographer. According to the Instagram post, after the short clip of tourists crowding and petting the elk, the animal bit a young boy’s finger as he was trying to feed it. Second-hand reporting suggests the bite did some damage, too.

“And we wonder why animals hurt people in the National Parks,” the caption reads. “Just moments after taking this video, the cow elk bit off the end of a young boys [sic] finger as he was feeding it.”

Watch the moments leading up to this event (the video does not show gore):

The park has not released anything official about this injury. However, it’s clear this group of tourists is much too close to the elk. At least one person in the clip has his or her hand near the animal’s mouth.

The moral of the story? Wild animals don’t need food handouts. If you feed a wild animal, you’re doing more harm than good. Also, you may lose part of your finger.

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