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Tourist sparks outrage after video reveals dangerously close encounter with bear: 'Do people think this is a petting zoo?'

"That bear could turn on this person before they even got back in the van."

“That bear could turn on this person before they even got back in the van.”

Photo Credit: @ touronsofyellowston / Instagram

Visiting our country's national parks is a great way to see massive mountains, rushing rivers, and wild animals. However, as has unfortunately been seen too many times to count, humans often act more like wild animals than the wildlife itself. 

A recent Instagram post by TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) — an account whose name is a combination of "tourist" and "moron" and that is dedicated to sharing instances of their behavior — showcased this to a T. 

The video shows a minivan pulled off on the side of the road, although still in the way of traffic, and the driver is standing with their door open, photographing a black bear that was dangerously close to them. 

"Be bear aware and to keep at least 100 yards from ALL bears‼️ And when parking off the road, try to get your tires on the other side of the white line," reads the text next to the video. 

Several commenters pointed out that the bear seems unbothered. That may be true at the moment, but the National Park Service explains that the wild animals in Yellowstone are unpredictable, so the safest way to view them is from inside a car.  

As addressed by the video's caption, the Park Service also says to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from all other animals, including bison and elk  — precisely what this touron is not doing. 

"I'll have to add this person to my top 10 nitwit tourons list," commented one fed-up viewer. "That bear could turn on this person before they even got back in the van." 

Another user added, "Do people think this is a petting zoo?" 

"Just HAD to get out from the safety of the van to get that perfect photo," said a third person. "Sadly If the bear decided to defend itself It would be killed." 

Sadly, this statement is all too true. When wildlife exhibits aggressive behavior toward humans or does the opposite and becomes too habituated, they are often euthanized, despite it being entirely the humans' fault and not the bears'. 

So, while getting out in our parks, or nature in general, it's important to remember that protecting it and its inhabitants for all to enjoy for years to come starts with respecting it. These kinds of wildlife-human interactions are an opportunity to gain more education and understanding about our natural world to be sure we don't abuse it.

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