Tourist learns the hard way never to approach a grizzly bear for photos – no matter how cute it looks

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Bears prefer to avoid close contact with people, but will defend themselves if they or their young are threatened

Bear naturally prefer to avoid close encounters with people, and will typically leave an area if they know you are coming (hence the advice to talk and make noise when hiking through their territory). However, they won’t hesitate to defend themselves if they feel threatened, as one man discovered recently after spotting one of the animals at the roadside and moving in for a closer look.

A video shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks (which you can watch below) depicts a man recording himself approaching a bear that he had noticed in the undergrowth while driving. Disturbed by the intrusion, the bear dashes under a guardrail, sending the person stumbling back before the video cuts out.

It’s not clear where the footage was recorded, but people distracting and approaching bears is a problem around the world. Earlier this week, a photographer revealed that slowing down to photograph a grizzly bear had cost him $20,000. Last year, Tom Mangelson spotted an injured grizzly lying by a road at Grand Teton National Park and reduced his speed to take a picture.

The National Park Service (NPS) alleges that Mangelson drove past the bear (which later recovered from its wounds) four times at such a slow speed that other drivers were held up behind him. He was found guilty and fined $150, but said that he had spent $20,000 defending his case and intended to appeal the decision.

Those found guilty of approaching bears can even face jail time if a judge decides to make an example of them. In 2021, a woman was sentenced to four days in jail for approaching a grizzly bear and her cubs at Yellowstone National Park.

A video of Samantha Dehring, from Illinois, went viral after she wandered up to the bears to snap some photos and refused to move back even after the sow made a bluff charge.

“Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish,” said Bob Murray, acting US attorney for Wyoming, at the time “Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”

This article by Cat Ellis was first published by Advnture on 27 June 2024. Lead Image: (Image credit: Getty).

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