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Video: Yellowstone tourists charge at bear and its cubs

An 82-year-old woman says she pushed away a bear that broke into her home near Trinidad, Colorado officials say. (Dreamstime/TNS)
August 30, 2023

A group of tourists was recently captured on camera rushing towards a mother black bear and her cubs in Yellowstone National Park.

William Brice Spencer, vacationing with his family, shot the gripping footage from what he considered a safe distance. The video, which quickly went viral, shows an uninterrupted line of cars on the park’s road.

The bear and her cubs, initially unperturbed by the presence of cars on the road, quickly scampered out of the video frame when tourists, including one individual holding a child, charged toward them. The park’s guidelines expressly state, “never approach wildlife.”

The video prompted many social media users to criticize the tourists for charging the bear and its cubs, pointing to the potential danger of encountering a bear in the wild.

“This might be the most outrageously dumb thing I’ve ever seen you post, and the bar is HIGH,” Nate Luebbe, a travel influencer, commented on the post.

The event took place just a month after another visitor suffered significant injuries from a bison.

“The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be,” a warning from the National Park Service reiterates.

The National Park Service advises visitors to maintain a distance of at least 91 meters from potentially dangerous animals like bears and wolves and a minimum of 23 meters from others, such as bison and elk.

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However, disobeying the park’s rules has become so common that an Instagram account, fittingly named “TouronsOfYellowstone” – a combination of “tourist” and “moron” – chronicles over 1,300 such incidents.

The account showcases more than just the audacity of some visitors. The videos document infractions such as walking off-trail, illicit smoking and even Segway rides on boardwalks.

Such close encounters don’t only imperil humans. Previously, a well-intentioned but ill-informed visitor tried rescuing a bison calf, leading to the animal’s tragic euthanization after being ostracized by its herd, according to The National Post.

The park reiterated its plea for tourists to respect wildlife, especially after another incident where a tourist drove an elk calf to the police department.

“Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in some cases, their survival. When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, on a road, or in a developed area, leave it alone and give it space,” Yellowstone Park officials stated. “The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.