Reckless tourist runs up to bear to snap photos, despite having a telephoto lens

Black bear at Banff National Park, Canada
(Image credit: Getty)

Using a telephoto lens is a great way to capture photos of wild animals engaging in natural behavior without disturbing them, but only if you actually use it properly. A man has been caught at Banff National Park in Canada running all around a small black bear snapping pictures, despite having all the equipment he needs to do so from a safe vantage point.

The incident was recorded by Wild Westy Adventures, who sensibly decided to stay inside their van while bears were around. 

Banff is home to both black and grizzly bears, and Parks Canada reminds visitors that although violent encounters are rare, there are important steps you can take to keep yourself and the animals safe.

"Seeing a bear in the wild is one of the most sought after experiences in our national parks," it says. "It is truly a unique and remarkable sight. This rare privilege however, comes with the important responsibility of minimizing the impact of your viewing activities on vulnerable bear populations."

If you spot a bear at the roadside, Parks Canada advises driving slowly rather than stopping to minimize your impact on the animal, and warning other motorists by using your hazard lights. Be very careful if other people have parked carelessly, as this can obstruct your view, and be aware of people and animals in the road.

If you want to enjoy the moment, you should pull over safely in a pull-off. Watch and take photos from inside your car, and don't crowd or obstruct the bear. This is particularly important in late summer and fall, as the bears increase their feeding activity to put on the essential fat that will help them survive hibernation.

"Visitors often do not realize that their enthusiasm and excitement to take pictures and to view a bear in the wild causes them to get too close or to crowd these sensitive animals," says Parks Canada. "These inadvertent behaviours force bears to abandon good foraging roadside for inferior habitat that is free of humans. It also requires them to expend unnecessary energy to travel and locate alternate places to feed."

For advice on how to get better wildlife photos without disturbing animals, take a look at our interview with professional photographer Emma Jacobs, where she shares her six top tips.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).