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National park visitor captures video of fellow tourists ignoring safety rules for selfie with grizzly and cub: 'Very stressful moment'

"There needs to be a mandatory tutorial before entering."

"There needs to be a mandatory tutorial before entering."

Photo Credit: iStock

Grand Teton National Park is home to a grizzly bear who's a bit of a local celebrity, but things could have ended poorly when a crowd got way too close to the mama and her cub. 

In May, the Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) Instagram account shared footage of tourists clamoring to record videos or snap photos of Grizzly Bear 399, who was meandering near the roadway with her cub. 

In the clip, originally shared by van life adventurer John Putrino (@manbythesea), someone is heard warning the crowd to not approach the bears. 

"Very stressful moment watching people outside of their cars approach grizzly bear 399 and her cub," the post's caption reads. "Please share and educate these people." 

While the excited onlookers may have believed they were safely distanced from the creatures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends staying at least 300 feet away — roughly the length of an American football field. 

That's far more space than the tourists appeared to give these grizzlies. 

Additionally, mama bears are famously known for their protective nature. If they feel threatened, they won't hesitate to defend their cubs. 

Some people get lucky and escape these types of encounters unscathed, but that isn't always the case. Oftentimes, the bear is the one who pays the price.

Earlier this year, CBS News reported that a bear attacked someone from behind in Colorado. In this situation, the person was properly on a marked trail and seemed to be unaware of the presence of the bear and her cubs. Thankfully, the hiker suffered only minor injuries. However, officials had to euthanize the bear.

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Interactions with wildlife aren't the only things that can go sideways when people disregard the rules at national parks, whether accidentally or intentionally. In Utah, a rescue team put itself at risk to save a tourist who injured himself after leaping onto a rock formation with dangerous drops on all sides. 

One commenter who grew up visiting national parks gracefully highlighted the importance of education to ensure wildlife is protected and natural spaces are safe and enjoyable for all. 

"I can see why so many get so close," they wrote on the Tourons of Yellowstone post. "They truly do not understand the level of danger they are putting themselves in."

"There needs to be a mandatory tutorial before entering," another user wrote. 

"Animals deserve so much better than we humans give them," someone else pointed out.

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