ENVIRONMENT
08/04/2018 03:38 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2018

Man Arrested After Allegedly Taunting Yellowstone Bison In Viral Video

Harassing a bison isn't just disrespectful to wildlife, it's extremely dangerous.

A man who authorities say is the person seen in a viral video taunting a bison in Yellowstone National Park has been arrested.

The video, posted on Facebook by bystander Lindsey Jones on Wednesday, shows a man standing in the middle of a road, waving his arms and running back and forth in an apparent attempt to get the attention of a bison just feet away. The animal briefly chases him before walking away.

Park rangers say they identified the man in the video as 55-year-old Raymond Reinke.

Reinke was arrested Thursday night at a Montana hotel, according to a statement from the National Park Service.

The arrest was the culmination of a series of several incidents involving Reinke at national parks. He had been arrested just days earlier, on July 28, in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park over alleged drunk and disorderly conduct.

He was then released on bond and headed to nearby Yellowstone National Park. The bond conditions required him to follow the law and avoid alcohol, according to The Associated Press.

On Tuesday, Yellowstone rangers cited him for not wearing a seatbelt, noting that he seemed “intoxicated and argumentative.” They believe the bison run-in happened after that stop.

Even before the video of Reinke and the bison surfaced, the incident prompted multiple complaints about the man harassing the wild animal, according to the Park Service. Those complaints resulted in a citation for Reinke, mandating that he appear in court.

After the video came out and rangers learned about Reinke’s previous bond conditions, an assistant U.S. attorney requested that the bond be revoked.

The request was granted, meaning that rangers had a warrant for Reinke’s arrest, the Park Service said. On Thursday, rangers from Glacier National Park ― several hours northwest of Yellowstone ― arrested him at a local hotel after a report that he and another guest were creating a disturbance in the dining room.

Harassing a bison isn’t just disrespectful to wildlife, it’s also extremely dangerous. In this case, the bison ended up peacefully walking away, but not everyone who gets near one of the large animals is so lucky.

For years, Yellowstone has distributed a leaflet bearing an all-caps warning that “MANY VISITORS HAVE BEEN GORED BY BUFFALO.” (The American bison is often colloquially called a “buffalo.”)

“These animals may appear tame but are wild, unpredictable, and dangerous,” the warning states, imploring visitors not to approach the animals for any reason.

Warnings don’t stop everyone from approaching bison, however, including some who have gotten gored while trying to take a selfie near the animals.

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