Museum Minute: Historic Video Archives Teach A Lesson - Don't Get Close To Wildlife

Aug 28, 2019

Screenshot of one of the bison goring videos
Credit McCracken Research Library

The McCracken Research Library has been working to compile historical video footage of natural history events in the Greater Yellowstone Area. 

There are well over 80,00 video clips in the Greater Yellowstone Sound and Sight collection but one of the topics that interests Samantha Harper, the archivist at the library, is videos of bison gorings. Harper said there are about seven to eight of those type of videos. 

“We want to encourage visitor safety when related to interacting with wildlife in the park and remembering that those animals are wild,” said Harper. “And just because you’ve never seen one before doesn't mean they want you to touch them or come near them.”

Harper said whenever there is a new incident of a bison goring, there is an increased interest in the videos. She said in most of the videos, a crowd begins to form around the bison and then the bison is unable to communicate in an obvious way that it is aggravated. 

“The bison ends up throwing a couple of people in the air,” Harper said, describing one video. “There’s one shot where a bison is chasing a man around a tree and he’s trying to get away from it and ends up throwing the man in the air.”

Harper said the videos can be pretty frightening to watch but it might be a good idea for Yellowstone visitors to see them so they know these are wild animals and not a zoo.