Man in Yellowstone bison video arrested on wildlife harassment charge


PINEDALE, Wyo., Aug 3 (Reuters) - A man seen in a widely circulated video provoking a Yellowstone National Park bison by waving his arms at the creature, prompting it to charge him, was arrested by rangers on suspicion of harassing wildlife, park officials said on Friday.

Raymond Reinke, 55, of Pendleton, Oregon, was taken into custody late Thursday by rangers at Glacier National Park in Montana, where Reinke had traveled after being cited on Tuesday evening by Yellowstone rangers for the bison incident that took place earlier that day.

The encounter, captured in a video that has gone viral since being posted online midweek, showed the man later identified by authorities as Reinke gesticulating as he ran toward a bull bison whose crossing had stopped traffic on a park roadway.

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Yellowstone bison
American bison at a Yellowstone geyser basin in winter, Bison bison, Thermal pools provide warmth and growths of algae, food for bison in winter, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, (Photo by Wild Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)

USA, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Hayden Valley With Bison Herd With Babies In Fog.

(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

American bison, Bovidae, Yellowstone National Park, Canada.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Snow continues to fall in Genesee Park on a buffalo stand in a field of fresh snow, April 23, 2013. Year ago Denver created the bison park as a tourist attraction along Interstate 70. The bison were originally sourced from Yellowstone National Park, and are considered one of the country's wildest herds.

(Photo By RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park Wyoming April 2013

A herd of bison feed near Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park.

(Photo by Erik Petersen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A bison grazes on grasses in the Hayden Valley section of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

A bison searches for food near Blacktail Plateau in Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday.

(Photo by Erik Petersen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A bison looks back as it crosses the road near Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park.

(Photo by Erik Petersen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

American Bison (also known as Buffalo) and their calves, forage for food at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming on June 1, 2011. In the early 1800's, an estimated 65 million bison roamed throughout the continent of North America but hunting and poaching had a devastating effect on their population and by 1890, fewer than 1,000 remained. Today there are an estimated 4000 bison in Yellowstone National Park.


Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Hayden Valley With Fog, Bison.

(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)


The bull then charged the man, who fled as an unidentified woman witnessing the event is heard to say, apparently referring to the bison, "Now he's gonna be mad."

Just days earlier, Reinke was arrested at Grand Teton National Park in what rangers said was a drunk and disorderly conduct incident. He was jailed overnight on July 28 and released on a bond that was subsequently revoked, prompting authorities to issue an arrest warrant on Thursday, according to Yellowstone.

Millions of visitors annually flock to the park that spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to view wildlife, including its famed bison, also known as buffalo.

Yellowstone rules dictate visitors give animals a wide berth, requiring them to stay at least 25 yards (meters) from bison and elk and 100 yards from predators such as wolves and bears.

The man-versus-bison video is the latest example of humans approaching too close for creatures' comfort at one of America's most popular national parks. In June, a bison there gored a woman after a crowd surged within feet of it, according to the park.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said bison, like other wild animals, are best viewed from afar.

"The fact that visitors are so passionate about Yellowstone and the animals is extraordinary. Yet we ask them to keep their distance to safeguard themselves and safeguard the remarkable landscape with hundreds of thousands of free-roaming animals," she told Reuters.

Reinke made an initial appearance in federal court in Wyoming on the misdemeanor charge on Friday, she said. Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful and it was not immediately clear if he had retained an attorney.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler)

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