A man visiting Yellowstone National Park has posted an incriminating video of himself online dashing out of his car, stripping off his shirt, and chasing one of the park's bears while making gorilla noises.
Bizarrely, this is the second video the man has posted this week of himself harassing bears, which is a federal crime punishable by a hefty fine. The clip was shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, where many are calling for him to be identified and prosecuted (at the time of writing the Instagram account appears to be down).
Last week, another Yellowstone visitor, Clifford Walters, was spotted handling a newborn bison calf that had become separated from its herd. Although Walters meant well, the animal was rejected by the herd and began approaching people and cars. Rangers eventually took the difficult decision to euthanize the animal for public safety, and Walters was given a fine for interfering with wildlife after handing himself in.
Interfering with wildlife can have tragic consequences for people and animals alike. In 2021 a woman was fined $2,000 for approaching a mother bear and her cubs to take photos.
Bears rarely attack humans, preferring to keep their distance, but but they are much more likely to become aggressive if they feel their cubs are threatened, so this was particularly dangerous. If the mother had attacked, she may have been euthanized for public safety even if the woman was uninjured.
The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors to stay at least 100 yards from bears at all times.
"Following viewing etiquette is the first step to avoiding an encounter with a bear that could escalate into an attack," the service says, "Keeping your distance and not surprising bears are some of the most important things you can do.
"Most bears will avoid humans if they hear them coming. Pay attention to your surroundings and make a special effort to be noticeable if you are in an area with known bear activity or a good food source, such as berry bushes."
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
Update: The National Park Service (NPS) has confirmed that it is now investigating the videos, and would be looking to prosecute the man if he is identified.
"We're aware of these videos and are investigating," a spokesperson told Cowboy State Daily. "The charge in an incident like this would be a Class B misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and $5,000 fine, The charge/s could include for example disturbing wildlife, disorderly conduct (create/maintain a hazardous condition), and/or approaching wildlife."
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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).