Visiting a national park is a great way to enjoy the majesty of nature and have a fun, relaxing time.
There are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your vacation stays fun and relaxing, however — one of which is that you probably shouldn’t interact with any bears.
Especially bear cubs. And especially in front of their mother.
A video recently posted to Instagram by an account (@touronsofnationalparks) that shares clips of tourists behaving in ill-advised ways in national parks shows a group of people in a car that are delighted when a baby bear approaches the drivers’ side window.
A larger bear — possibly its mother, or a larger cub — appears to be supervising the situation.
Instead of driving away, or even closing the car window, the tourists continue filming, screaming with joy as the baby bear puts its paws on the bottom of the window and eventually takes an unsuccessful swipe at the camera phone.
The National Park Service advises that “if a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior.”
The type of behavior exhibited in the video is clearly (to everyone except the people filming it, apparently) dangerous to the humans, as mother bears can be extremely protective of their cubs. Even if the mother is not immediately visible, it could become visible very quickly. But it is also indirectly dangerous to the bears, as several commenters pointed out.
“If the bears keep being encouraged to approach cars the rangers will most likely euthanize them. It’s not just dangerous to people to engage in this type of activity, more so to the animal,” one commenter wrote.
“It’s not the bears’ fault,” wrote another commenter. “Coexistence is crucial to our future. We cut off their food and water sources with roads and property [and] it’s our responsibility” to treat them with respect.
While a third person simply wrote, “Humans at their dumbest!”
What you can do
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This article by Jeremiah Budin was first published by The Cool Down on 20 October 2023. Lead Image: Photo Credit: @touronsofyellowstone / Instagram.