Two women gored while taking selfies with elk in Missouri park
Two women were recently injured by elk at Lone Elk Park in St. Louis, Missouri, while trying to take selfies with the native fauna, according to KTVI.
Tourists and photographers flock to Lone Elk Park to get up, close and personal with the magnificent elk who call the sanctuary their home.
But despite multiple warning signs posted throughout the area, some visitors still try to get a little bit too close to the animals, which can send them into panic mode and make them act erratically.
Nature photographer Kent Burgess told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he witnessed one of these incidents take place on Sunday afternoon.
Burgess said that while he was in the park taking photos of the elk, he saw a group of two women and two men walking along a hiking trail near a herd of elk trying to take selfies with the animals.
As Burgess watched the group wander towards the dominant bull, he heard the sound of the animal's bugle, which is a noise that helps elk attract a mate or warn other animals to stay away.
"It was startling," Burgess told the outlet. "I saw the dominant bull moving toward them and I tried to yell at them to get away."
Unable to hear Burgess, the group continued moving towards the large animal which, in turn, lowered its head and charged. One of the women sustained a bloody arm and some otherwise mild injuries.
Lone Elk Park officials say that they usually receive about one report each year of someone being gored by a charging elk, but since September of this year, they have already responded to two separate incidents.
Another woman was injured in the park on September 30 when she got too close to a bull, causing it to charge her and gore her in the lower back.
It's especially dangerous to approach the animals between mid-August and December because it is their mating season, according to park officials.
If visitors to the park come across an elk or bison, they are urged to turn around or cut a wide path around the animal.