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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photographer Vs. Elk... (kinda scary, kinda cute)
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11/16/2013 10:33:41 AM · #76
Originally posted by Spork99:

Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Cory:

You know the most ironic thing? In a way we're all responsible for the fearlessness of these animals - simply because we don't regularly attack them..


Yeah we do. The problem is they never see their attackers. Maybe the solution is to ban rifles and force hunters to grow a pair?


Or just give the tourists bullwhips and make a sport of the thing.

ETA: Really killing the elk isn't the idea - scaring the holy shit out of it, and providing a bit of pain for reinforcement, now that's the way to go... A few of those experiences and they'll be quite cautious about keeping their distance.


"Training" the elk to be fearful of humans should start with the park rangers themselves. I noticed that at least one of the pictures on the website shows an elk nuzzling a white truck. A truck with emergency lights on its roof like what park rangers drive.

Of course if the elk are too fearful of humans, no one will get to see them and then, to a large part of the public, that's just the same as not having elk at all and then who's going to want to pay tax dollars for that?


I suspect that in a park setting like that the usefulness of being fearful of humans has really pretty much been reduced to a very small benefit - whereas an animal that isn't fearful of humans stands a much better chance of successfully competing for limited resources.

So, if the management were up to me, I'd be pretty tempted to experiment with making the animals VERY human friendly, since the eventual outcome is probably going to be pretty similar to the situation in Nara.
11/16/2013 10:36:39 AM · #77
They did try to haze it...

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 10:48:34.
11/16/2013 10:43:37 AM · #78
Originally posted by RKT:

They did try to haze it...but the need for snack food was too strong.


Huh?

Your post just links to the google search results for "elk euthanized"- didn't see a thing about them trying to 'haze' it.
11/16/2013 10:49:12 AM · #79
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by RKT:

They did try to haze it...but the need for snack food was too strong.


Huh?

Your post just links to the google search results for "elk euthanized"- didn't see a thing about them trying to 'haze' it.


I fixed the link Cory.
11/16/2013 11:00:15 AM · #80
Originally posted by Spork99:

Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Cory:

You know the most ironic thing? In a way we're all responsible for the fearlessness of these animals - simply because we don't regularly attack them..


Yeah we do. The problem is they never see their attackers. Maybe the solution is to ban rifles and force hunters to grow a pair?


Or just give the tourists bullwhips and make a sport of the thing.

ETA: Really killing the elk isn't the idea - scaring the holy shit out of it, and providing a bit of pain for reinforcement, now that's the way to go... A few of those experiences and they'll be quite cautious about keeping their distance.


"Training" the elk to be fearful of humans should start with the park rangers themselves. I noticed that at least one of the pictures on the website shows an elk nuzzling a white truck. A truck with emergency lights on its roof like what park rangers drive.

Of course if the elk are too fearful of humans, no one will get to see them and then, to a large part of the public, that's just the same as not having elk at all and then who's going to want to pay tax dollars for that?


There was one photo and it was used to demonstrate the size of the animals. Rangers aren't the problem...there just aren't enough of them to patrol such a massive park and police all the stupidity that goes on in it.
11/16/2013 11:02:31 AM · #81
Originally posted by RKT:



I fixed the link Cory.


Interesting. I'd have also tried a few habanero spiked bags of Doritos - ruin the food source.

11/16/2013 11:03:11 AM · #82
Originally posted by Neil:

Originally posted by MarkB:

That is too bad, and for those who were critical of the photographer... "Park officials say York did not do anything wrong in the video. They say the elk approached him and he did not interact with the elk. Rangers say the elk's friendly behavior began long before he met the elk."


That was friendly?


Definitely was friendly. If he really thought he was competing, he could have really slammed that guy. It seemed like really gentle play, actually. That's the the photographer kept lowering his head and kept doing it. He saw early on that when he raised his head, the elk backed off. He could have shooed that elk off much earlier in the video. He probably found it amazing and continued -- but I think his curiosity and sense of adventure got the elk killed. I don't think he did any of it on purpose. I think he found himself in a position that surprised the crap out of him. But he also was having a good time with it -- you can tell -- and he just wasn't thinking. How incredibly sad...

11/16/2013 11:03:30 AM · #83
Originally posted by Cory:

...
So, if the management were up to me, I'd be pretty tempted to experiment with making the animals VERY human friendly, since the eventual outcome is probably going to be pretty similar to the situation in Nara.

Oh, you mean like a menagerie or a petting zoo? There are many elk (wapiti) in total confinement and they do perform well for the entertainment of people. I thought we were talking about wild animals in areas without fences.

Smokies YouTube elk euthanized "Officials aggressively hazed — meaning they tried to re-train the elk to fear humans — since they learned of the incident with York. They used bean bag guns and firecrackers so the elk would associate people with scary, loud sounds instead of potato chips.

“This fall, there have been several elk that have become food-conditioned,” Soehn said. “We have reports of visitors who have been feeding them and the elk have been getting closer and closer. ... that one potato chip does make a big difference.”"


Wild animals will only stay wild if they don't learn dependence/preference for human food. Once that happens, the future becomes grim for the animal. I wasn't surprised to read the animal in GSMNP was killed.

The animals don't need training or retraining. They instinctively know to avoid all predator animals with eyes on the front of their skull. (mountain lions, bears, wolves, humans) This is an instinct strongly established ever since the last ice age ...at least 12,000 years ago. The predator evasion strategy of wapiti when encountering a predator is to turn and run fast in an escape direction. (Wapiti is the native American name for elk. Roughly translated, it means "white butts". Indeed, in low light conditions, the herd can run faster through the forest and mountains by simply following that white butt in front of them.)

There may be some good that comes from this human/animal encounter. There will be a renewed emphasis by all national parks to enforce the "no feeding" and "no approach" rules. The public may also have a better understanding. Photographers have seen a really strong example of what not to do around wildlife.

Any training needs to be directed towards the people. It has always been ignorance by the people which has caused problems for the animals at the wilderness/urban intersection.

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 11:05:55.
11/16/2013 11:40:23 AM · #84
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Cory:

...
So, if the management were up to me, I'd be pretty tempted to experiment with making the animals VERY human friendly, since the eventual outcome is probably going to be pretty similar to the situation in Nara.

Oh, you mean like a menagerie or a petting zoo? There are many elk (wapiti) in total confinement and they do perform well for the entertainment of people. I thought we were talking about wild animals in areas without fences.


Not at all. I mean like the Japanese town of Nara. Where WILD deer have basically lost any fear of humans, and are now treated as a tourist attraction.

Is it wrong? Hell, I don't know. What I do know, is that it seems human nature (wanting to be 'sweet' to the animal, and feeding it), and the animal's nature (high calorie food source = good) collide here in a way that will almost certainly ensure that cases like this do not disappear as long as humans and animals are in situations that encourage close contact.

BTW, if you think being on the news is going to have a huge effect, then you have far more faith in people than I do. "just this once won't hurt" - "It's sooo cute" - "Ooops.. (grin)" - "Here little cute animal" - etc..

ETA: FWIW, I do wish you were right, and that people wouldn't feed them. I just don't think people can control themselves - remember, these are the people who smoke, KNOWING that it will kill them, and just rationalizing their way out of that inconvenient problem. When it's not even their life at stake, and the consequences are invisible and not immediate, then bad decision making is really quite common.

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 11:45:10.
11/16/2013 11:56:09 AM · #85
Originally posted by Cory:

...BTW, if you think being on the news is going to have a huge effect, then you have far more faith in people than I do. "just this once won't hurt" - "It's sooo cute" - "Ooops.. (grin)" - "Here little cute animal" - etc..


You're probably right about the public. It will take a notching up of restrictions at national parks by enforcement and interpretation rangers to get the public awareness to a level needed to protect the resource. Due to sequestration, there have been big cuts in the number of rangers at the national parks. I've always said the bean bag guns should be used on the misbehaving people, rather than the confused bears and cervids. Security rangers currently carry Glocks and Tasers…. deadly force and slightly less deadly force. I fully expect wildlife photographers will face more restrictions in the future in the national parks. The foolish behavior of the idiot in GSMNP will result in more scrutiny of photographers' actions.
11/16/2013 12:41:41 PM · #86
It's been an interesting up and down in the way that things have been handled over the years. I don't know which park it was -- but we have slides from when I was little. We were in some park, lines of cars, bears going up to cars, being fed at car windows. We didn't feed the bears, but that wooden paneled station wagon did have bear claw marks on it from when the bear went car to car looking for handouts.

This was in the 70s.

I think it was Yellowstone.

Feeding the animals definitely was more part of the culture back then. Does anyone else remember this type of thing?

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 12:41:58.
11/16/2013 12:43:17 PM · #87
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Cory:

...BTW, if you think being on the news is going to have a huge effect, then you have far more faith in people than I do. "just this once won't hurt" - "It's sooo cute" - "Ooops.. (grin)" - "Here little cute animal" - etc..


You're probably right about the public. It will take a notching up of restrictions at national parks by enforcement and interpretation rangers to get the public awareness to a level needed to protect the resource. Due to sequestration, there have been big cuts in the number of rangers at the national parks. I've always said the bean bag guns should be used on the misbehaving people, rather than the confused bears and cervids. Security rangers currently carry Glocks and Tasers…. deadly force and slightly less deadly force. I fully expect wildlife photographers will face more restrictions in the future in the national parks. The foolish behavior of the idiot in GSMNP will result in more scrutiny of photographers' actions.


The good news is that all of the other enforcement programs are still fully funded. :(

As for the photographer's 'foolish behavior'... I'm not sure why you're still going on about that - even the park rangers are on record saying he did nothing wrong, other than perhaps not retreating quite quickly enough.
11/16/2013 12:52:16 PM · #88
Originally posted by vawendy:

It's been an interesting up and down in the way that things have been handled over the years. I don't know which park it was -- but we have slides from when I was little. We were in some park, lines of cars, bears going up to cars, being fed at car windows. We didn't feed the bears, but that wooden paneled station wagon did have bear claw marks on it from when the bear went car to car looking for handouts.

This was in the 70s.

I think it was Yellowstone.

Feeding the animals definitely was more part of the culture back then. Does anyone else remember this type of thing?


Yeah... The good old days. When all the Burger Kings had those cool little tin ashtrays, cars weren't stuffed full of unnecessary electronics and safety equipment like those annoying seatbelts and terrifying airbags. I remember our playground, it was awesome - there was a metal slide that wasn't just fun, but on a summer's day you could actually cook things on it, we had monkey bars (man it was fun watching kids break their arms and scream), football at lunch (with tackling, no pads... Wonder how long they'd let us do that today?), and there was a tire that seemed like it was a mile tall, half-buried in the ground, I don't remember anyone falling off of it, but I do remember that it smelled like pee, and had steel cords that you had to watch out for...

Oh, and the toys.. I miss the toys. Of course, back then, my parents were able to buy me a 3 wheeler, and gave it to me when I was three, that DID in fact result in child services being called, but they verified that all was well. :D (I had a helmet!)...

Really, it's just a different world. Some parts I'm actually glad of (seatbelts and airbags are pretty cool), but some parts I'm just distraught about (WTF no monkey bars???).... The feeding of animals? Hmm... Dunno - I think national parks already are a weird sort of petting zoo, so what's a bit more? Then again, it's certainly not good for the animals, and I don't want claw marks on my car. ;)

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 12:53:18.
11/16/2013 01:13:01 PM · #89
Originally posted by Cory:


As for the photographer's 'foolish behavior'... I'm not sure why you're still going on about that - even the park rangers are on record saying he did nothing wrong, other than perhaps not retreating quite quickly enough.


The park rangers are wrong. The idiot photographer should have moved back as the spike approached. Sitting on the ground with legs crossed and concealing his eyes with camouflage hat really confused the spike. The photographer simply had to stand up, wave his arms and make noise. He could have saved that elk… at least from being killed due to this encounter. The episode could have been, and should have been, prevented. I don't like the portrayal of the photographer as some kind of hero for surviving the elk "attack". There was nothing heroic or brave about what he did. As Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid." I sincerely hope the message gets out that it is dead wrong for photographers to sit down on the ground in that situation. The idiot was trying to get a closeup portrait and he's lucky he didn't get injured. I continue to be angry about this event, because it was preventable and it will result in greater scrutiny and restriction of wildlife photographers in the future.
11/16/2013 02:28:16 PM · #90
We still have monkey bars in NJ.
11/16/2013 04:57:55 PM · #91
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by hahn23:

I suspect the photographer was baiting the spike, maybe with sugar cubes, for example. Or, possibly someone fed this spike in the past. That baiting experience usually wrecks the future of a wild animal.


Here's what the photographer had to say:

Originally posted by elk photographer:

A North Carolina photographer dove headfirst, literally, into his assignment when he came face-to-face with an elk.

James York was photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tenn., when one of the elk on which he had his lens focused approached him.

"He came up peacefully enough," York said. "I was hoping he might just take a little sniff and move away but he didn't."
Instead, the elk began nuzzling York, sniffing at his leg and forcefully nudging his antlers into York's head, which York did his best to keep down.

"I'm thinking, 'Don't show him fear,'" York said. "He was prancing and digging his hoofs in the ground and then bouncing back and forth and lowering his horns down and coming at me fairly aggressive."

A fellow photographer, Vince Camiolo, captured York's nearly seven-minute encounter with the elk on his own video camera and posted it to YouTube.

"He has his head cocked to the side and his horns are down and his eye is locked right on me," York said of the encounter.

After about five minutes, York stands up and the elk backs away, only to continue staring down York in a sort of standoff. As the elk continues to approach and then back away from York, a white SUV slowly approaches and York eventually hops in, leaving his camera bag behind.

As the elk starts to bite into the camera bag, the SUV drives forward close enough to scare the elk away and York comes out of the car to retrieve his bag.


I will read the rest of this thread in a minute, but I want to point out one glaringly large, annoying error.

Cataloochee Valley is NOT in TN (thought it is very close) and is definitely not in Gatlinburg. It is in NC, near Maggie Valley.
11/16/2013 05:02:05 PM · #92
Originally posted by Kelli:

We still have monkey bars in NJ.

Are you saying I can belly-up and get a drink in the company of free-range monkeys? On my way.
11/16/2013 06:29:32 PM · #93
Originally posted by karmat:

I will read the rest of this thread in a minute, but I want to point out one glaringly large, annoying error.

Cataloochee Valley is NOT in TN (thought it is very close) and is definitely not in Gatlinburg. It is in NC, near Maggie Valley.

It's just bad syntax: The PARK is headquartered in Gatlinburg, TN, but its total expanse includes NC as well. They're saying the valley's in the park, which it is, and they're identifying the park as being "in Tennessee" based on its address-of-record, which isn't entirely accurate of course.

11/16/2013 06:35:12 PM · #94
Originally posted by karmat:

…but I want to point out one glaringly large, annoying error.

Cataloochee Valley is NOT in TN (thought it is very close) and is definitely not in Gatlinburg. It is in NC, near Maggie Valley.


Gatlinburg is in TN. The GSMNP HQ is in TN. Catalooche Valley is in NC. map
11/16/2013 06:46:16 PM · #95
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by karmat:

…but I want to point out one glaringly large, annoying error.

Cataloochee Valley is NOT in TN (thought it is very close) and is definitely not in Gatlinburg. It is in NC, near Maggie Valley.


Gatlinburg is in TN. The GSMNP HQ is in TN. Catalooche Valley is in NC. map


Yes, I know. (see Bear's post).

It just irks me when reporters and reporting agencies make that kind of mistake.

(Random karmat fact -- my great-grandmother was one of the inhabitants of Cataloochee Valley that was displaced when it became a national park. . .)

edit for spelling

Message edited by author 2013-11-16 20:30:44.
11/17/2013 04:13:57 PM · #96
Originally posted by hahn23:

Originally posted by Cory:


As for the photographer's 'foolish behavior'... I'm not sure why you're still going on about that - even the park rangers are on record saying he did nothing wrong, other than perhaps not retreating quite quickly enough.


The park rangers are wrong. The idiot photographer should have moved back as the spike approached. Sitting on the ground with legs crossed and concealing his eyes with camouflage hat really confused the spike. The photographer simply had to stand up, wave his arms and make noise. He could have saved that elk… at least from being killed due to this encounter. The episode could have been, and should have been, prevented. I don't like the portrayal of the photographer as some kind of hero for surviving the elk "attack". There was nothing heroic or brave about what he did. As Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid." I sincerely hope the message gets out that it is dead wrong for photographers to sit down on the ground in that situation. The idiot was trying to get a closeup portrait and he's lucky he didn't get injured. I continue to be angry about this event, because it was preventable and it will result in greater scrutiny and restriction of wildlife photographers in the future.


No doubt he was stupid.

You can be stupid and still be within the rules.

The rangers are most certainly not wrong. The guy did nothing that was against the rules. He certainly didn't heed the warnings and that's dangerous, but not wrong.

On the one hand, you're angry because this dunderhead did something that's legal, that you'd like to be illegal, which would bring more scrutiny on the activities of wildlife photographers, but you're also upset because you think this incident will bring more scrutiny to wildlife photographers…which is it?

Message edited by author 2013-11-17 23:06:27.
11/17/2013 04:55:49 PM · #97
Originally posted by Spork99:

You can be stupid and still be within the rules.


Hey! Something we agree on!
11/17/2013 05:11:10 PM · #98
There was a case a couple of years ago in Cades Cove (which *is* almost in Gatlinburg) where a man wanted to get a close up picture of a bear. So, he baited it. Being a bear, it ended up "scuffling" the man's shoe looking for more food. (That was stupid AND a violation of park policy.)

He got his picture.

The bear got death.

Most of the time these situations don't spark a lot of interest locally -- but this one enraged a lot of people. The bear was being a bear. The man was being stupid. The bear got punished.

Geez, people, don't feed the wildlife -- in a park or anywhere. Not only is our food bad for them (and usually bad for us as well, but that is another thread), but it is putting yourself in a (needlessly) dangerous situation. Buy a zoom lense or something.
11/17/2013 05:57:05 PM · #99
Why is it okay to feed wild birds in the garden, or ducks in a pond?
11/17/2013 06:01:41 PM · #100
Originally posted by JH:

Why is it okay to feed wild birds in the garden, or ducks in a pond?


OK is not quite true.

While there are foods that one can feed birds in general, bread and other similar items are NOT good for them.

If indeed you are to feed birds in the garden, either feed them all the time or never. Rather sad to have critters depend on humans and forget how to feed themselves.

Ray

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