There is an average of one bear attack per year in Yellowstone National Park, according to the National Park Service. And it’s hard to believe that there aren’t more, considering the fact that people do things like walking right up to wild bears to get a close-up shot with their camera phone.
A recent video of one such incident was shared on the Tourons of Yellowstone Instagram account (@touronsofyellowstone), which regularly posts videos of tourists behaving irresponsibly around wildlife in Yellowstone.
“Togwotee Pass. I genuinely thought we were going to see a mauling,” wrote the original poster, who filmed the video. “An absolute idiot and so much disrespect for the bear. He ruined the moment for everyone watching peacefully from a distance.”
The video captured a man approaching a bear grazing in a grass area next to a road, phone raised to capture a photo of the animal. After being startled by the human, the bear retreated a couple of feet and continued sniffing the ground.
Even among the videos regularly shared on this Instagram page, this one stands out as one of the most reckless and thoughtless.
Though most people probably do not need to be told this, the National Park Service advises on its website that visitors to Yellowstone should “keep at least 100 yards (93 meters) from bears at all times and never approach a bear to take a photo.”
The actions of this tourist were not just dangerous to him, but to the bear as well. The National Park Services page goes on to say that bears that “become aggressive toward people … have to be killed.”
When visiting a national park, the goal should always be to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature without doing harm. Climate activism begins with respect for nature, and increased wildlife-human interactions should lead to more education and understanding about our natural world and the desire to protect it, not abuse it.
“I’m genuinely shocked that there aren’t more people (like the person filming) calling this guy out for being an absolute tool,” wrote one commenter.
“If the bear started charging him, he wouldn’t even reach the other side of the road before becoming fresh lunch for the bear….” wrote another.
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