A woman has shared a video of a close encounter with a bear at a holiday cabin near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Illet Al Junaidi was staying in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, when she saw the animal at the door of her cabin.
"Hi cutie! Why are you so cute?" she asks, before the bear begins to charge towards her. "Oh hell no!" she shouts as she runs back inside.
Al Junaidi shared the video from her 2020 vacation on her TikTok account. "I decided to go say hi, because he seemed nice, but that was not the case," she told Fox Weather this week. "As soon as I got comfortable, he charged at me."
Within Great Smoky Mountains National Park itself, it's illegal to approach within 50 yards of a bear, or close enough to disturb it. Individual animals have their own needs when it comes to personal space. This is a federal law. and breaking it can result in a fine, and even jail time.
In June last year, a tourist was fined for feeding peanut butter balls to a bear in the park. “It is critical that bears never be fed or approached – for their protection and for human safety." said wildlife biologist Bill Stiver after the woman was identified via video evidence.
If bears are regularly approached by humans, they will become habituated, which means they lose their natural wariness around people. This increases the chances of an encounter that could end very badly for both people and animals. In many states, any bear that attacks a human is euthanized, even if the person wasn't seriously injured.
Instead, the National Park Service advises visitors to keep their distance and observe wildlife using binoculars or a telephoto lens instead (check out our roundup of the best binoculars and monoculars for some options).
- What to do if you meet a bear: a guide to wildlife safety
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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.