A huge crowd of tourists has been spotted crowding a small black bear at Yellowstone National Park to take selfies, completely ignoring advice from the US National Park Service (NPS) to stay at least 100 yards (93 meters) from the animals at all times.
The crowd was filmed by another visitor filming from a safer distance. In the video, which you can watch below, the people are so densely packed, that at first it's not possible to even see the bear that's the focus of so much attention.
The incident happened a little while ago, but has resurfaced this week thanks to Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty. Other posts in recent days have included a visitor playing dead to avoid a charging bison, a bull elk knocking down a phone-wielding tourist, and another bison tearing into a tourist's car like a can opener.
A photo posted by on
Bears can be found throughout Yellowstone National Park, and although they prefer to avoid interactions with people, they are wild animals and can be unpredictable.
"There is an average of one bear attack per year in Yellowstone," says the NPS. In separate incidents in 2011 and 2015, three people were killed by bears inside the park. More people have died by drowning or suffering thermal burns from hot springs than aggressive bears."
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid a close encounter with a bear. In addition to keeping your distance, the NPS warns visitors never to feed bears, as this can encourage them to approach people in future, increasing the risk of an interaction. Even if there are no injuries, any bear that attacks a person may be euthanized for public safety.
The safest place to view wildlife is from your car, but if a bear approaches or touches your vehicle then you should honk your horn and drive away to discourage the animal from doing so in future. This can also be an issue with elk and moose, particularly during cold weather when road salt has accumulated on bodywork.
Bears on the trails
If you spot a bear but it hasn't noticed you, official advice from the NPS is to stay out of sight, and take a detour as far as possible and downwind of the animal. If it does see you, stay calm and avoid the temptation to run. Instead, back away slowly and leave the area.
If a bear stands on its hind legs, it is likely just curious and trying to see or smell more easily. However, behavior like clacking teeth, sticking out lips, making huffing or woofing sounds, and hitting the ground with its paws are signs that it's agitated by your presence. Again, don't be tempted to run or startle the animal. Keep backing away, but have your bear spray primed and ready to use.
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear, and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
- Best binoculars and monoculars: enjoy wildlife watching from a safe distance
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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.