An adult grizzly bear can run at up to 35mph for short distances, and can weigh over 700lb, but many tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park just don't seem to take the risk seriously. Attacks on humans are rare, but they do happen. Only last week, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) reported that a woman had been found dead on a trail just outside Yellowstone "following an apparent bear encounter".
Tracks from at least one adult and one cub were found in the area, but despite an extensive search operation, no animals have been found or captured.
Despite all this, scores of visitors have been spotted this summer getting dangerously close to the animals. At the weekend, Instagram user swimmygimme shared a photo of a particularly large bear jam at Yellowstone, with at least 12 people standing outside cars parked in the middle of the road, taking pictures of a grizzly sow and her two cubs crossing the road.
The photo, which you can see below, shows the adult headed straight for a man who seems utterly unfazed by the situation.
A photo posted by on
The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that the best place to see wildlife at Yellowstone is from the safety of your vehicle. Grizzly and black bears can be found throughout the park, and you should be prepared for an encounter wherever you go.
"Keep at least 100 yards (93 m) from bears at all times and never approach a bear to take a photo," says the service. If a bear approaches your car, you should honk the horn and drive away to discourage it from doing so again in future.
"Montana is bear country," says the FWP. "Grizzly bear populations continue to become denser and more widespread in Montana, increasing the likelihood that residents and recreationists will encounter them in more places each year. Avoiding conflicts with bears is easier than dealing with such conflicts."
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.