Elk is in no mood for a crowd of Colorado tourists — so she bites off the tip of young boy's finger

It's one thing to be a "touron" who gets too close to wildlife for the sake of a selfie. But it's quite another when said tourist brings a child as their prop. Which was the case earlier this week at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, where one kid lost part of his finger after the grownups encouraged him to feed an elk.

Video shot by wildlife photographer Vic Schendel and shown on Advnture's website shows a beautiful cow elk putting up with a group of gawkers who are in her space, crowding around the wild animal with cameras as they feed and try to pet her on the nose.

But what the video doesn't show is what happened right after the camera turned off. "Just moments after taking this video, the cow elk bit off the end of a young boys finger as he was feeding it," says the caption on the video, which was posted to TouronsofNationalParks yesterday.

According to Advnture:

People may think they're helping wild animals by feeding them, but it can actually be very harmful. Not only is there a risk of being attacked (even seemingly docile animals can become aggressive if they feel threatened), being fed by visitors means they are more likely to seek out human food in future, increasing the odds of a dangerous close encounter. …

When it comes to wildlife, the NPS advises that the best relationship is a long-distance relationship. Visitors should stay at least 75ft (23 meters) from elk and bighorn sheep, and at least 120ft (36 meters) from moose, mountain lions, and bears. People should never try to distract animals or get a reaction from them.

"The popularity of selfies and capturing any moment through photographs or video is posing a new threat to wildlife and humans," warns the NPS.

"Trigger-happy tourists have started to provoke animals, and in some instances, alter their behaviors as a result. Quietly watching from a distance can be even more rewarding than getting the perfect shot."

It's not clear how much of the boy's finger the elk actually "bit off" or how serious the incident was. Hopefully for the boy, it was an exaggerated Instagram post. And hopefully for the elk and wildlife in general, these visitors learned a lesson.

See more touron posts on Boing Boing here.