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Bear charges at obnoxious national park tourist tempting fate for a video: 'People forget they are wild animals'

"This happens more than you know."

"This happens more than you know."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Flattery won't get you far in the presence of a black bear, as one tourist at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park found out.

After spotting the animal while visiting Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, the tourist whipped out their phone and began filming the creature from behind a gate outside a property. 

"Hi!" they called to the bear. "Hi, cutie! Why you so cute?" 

Despite the kind words, the bear wasn't too keen on being bothered by people and soon broke into a charge towards the hapless individual, who quickly escaped in the opposite direction.

"Oh hell no!" they yelled while making a break for it. 

@foxweather A bear charged at a #Tennessee tourist in #PigeonForge right after she called it "cute." #Bears in the #GreatSmokyMountains National Park are wild, and their behavior can be unpredictable, the National Parks Service said. "Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the #bear ♬ original sound - FOX Weather

The footage, uploaded to TikTok by Fox Weather (@foxweather), was greeted with little surprise and plenty of castigation by commenters. 

"Play stupid games, win stupid prizes," one user said, with another adding, "People forget they are WILD ANIMALS. DANGEROUS."

"Sad thing is the bear will more than likely be euthanized just for doing what bears are made to do," one TikToker pointed out. "It's a shame that so many bears meet this fate because of non educated (on bears) tourists. I live not far from the Smokies and this happens more than you know."

While the human got away unscathed, it's true that the animal could soon meet an unfortunate fate.

Animals that become habituated or comfortable around humans often lose their inhibitions, making it more likely they will approach in search of food. But it also makes them more prone to aggressive behavior. If they were to cause injury or worse to an unfortunate tourist, the bear would almost certainly be euthanized to avoid further threat to people.

According to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website, 339 negative bear encounters have been recorded in the area in the last decade. 

"Bears in the park are wild and their behavior can be unpredictable," the park's website says. "Although extremely rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution!"

Willfully approaching a bear within 150 feet can result in a fine and arrest. While this tourist likely stumbled upon the creature rather than actively trying to get close, the provocation certainly didn't help matters

The bear may be cute, but giving it space and respect is essential to ensure its survival.

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