WatsonPhotography.ca | Tourists Behaving Badly

Tourists Behaving Badly

June 03, 2016

Tourists Behaving Badly.

The last couple of weeks there have been prime examples of tourists behaving badly at major tourist sites. It seems like the 2016 tourist season is off to a bad start. Is this year any different from previous years? A quick Google search on this topic will show you that there have been some stellar examples over the years. I have seen examples of this behavior dating back to my early days shooting film. This not a digital phenomena. 


The most notable examples to kick off 2016 have been:

1) A tourist destroying an ancient statue while attempting to get a selfie.


2) A group of photographers damaging the Grand Prasmatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park.


3) A tourist capturing a bison calf at Yellowstone National park which resulted in the euthanasia of the calf.


The above examples are not isolated incidents. They happen year after year, but it seems like the sheer magnitude has increased.

I have witnessed first hand the terrible behavior of tourists within Yellowstone National Park. In the headline image we see several tourists getting very close to a mature adult bison. The photographer on the right is directing his subjects to get close to the bison to get them in the same image with the bison. I am standing a 100 feet away with my long zoom lens. I see the warning signs from the bison. Deep snorts and expelling of air and the movement of his head. I knew that this was a disaster waiting to happen. To the badly behaving tourists what happened next was unexpected. The bison quickly arose on all fours and did a quick five foot bluff charge. This resulted in the tourists running back to the their car. The tourists were not injured and the park ranger was not dispatched to euthanize the bison.

In the example above, the management of Yellowstone National Park do a wonderful job of educating people about the risks of wildlife, keeping a safe distance through educational materials, awareness sessions and signs. Alas, some people are just born stupid and every year there are major incidents. In 2015, there were five incidents of a tourist getting gored by a bison.

The moral of this story is to follow a photographers code of ethics when visiting a National Park or tourist attraction.

I as a photographer take the following oath:

1. I will keep a minimum safe distance from wildlife as instructed by parks management.

2. My new motto will be to set an example to other photographers and tourists on the correct behavior.

3. I will not desecrate or destroy any living being or inanimate object.

4. Re-evaluate my narcissistic behavior to take "Selfies"

5. I will respect all local laws and will not do anything to further embarrass my nationality.

Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, people, travel, nature and racing sports by Toronto photographer Peter Watson.