Yellowstone tourists leave cars to see bear up close, despite recent attacks

Black bear walking across road at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A group of tourists have been spotted blocking the road at Yellowstone National Park and leaving their vehicles to get a close-up look at a black bear. Some even brought their children out, and didn't return to their cars even when the animal began to approach.

Another visitor, Glen Welton, captured the close encounter on his phone from inside his truck. In the video, which you can watch below, only one man gets inside and closes his car door, while the rest stand on the verge or in the middle of the road.

This bear appears to simply be curious, but all wild animals can be unpredictable and dangerous. Within the last week, two women have been gored by bison at US National Parks, possibly after getting too close to the huge, powerful creatures.

This black bear appears to be curious rather aggressive, but even seemingly harmless encounters with wildlife can have tragic consequences. Animals that become used to approaching and sometimes being fed by humans will eventually lose their natural wariness around people (a phenomenon called habituation). Once a bear is habituated, it is much more likely to come into contact with people, which can result in it being euthanized if it ever feels threatened and lashes out.

Earlier this year, a bison calf was euthanized at Yellowstone after a well-meaning visitor pushed it up from a river bank onto a road. The calf was rejected by its herd and began approaching people and cars, presenting a danger.

Bear safety

Yellowstone is home to beautiful animals including elk, bison and bears, but the National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that they are best viewed from the safety of your vehicle.

"The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be," the NPS says. "The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk."

For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

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.