A new video shows tourists getting way too close to potentially dangerous wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, becoming the latest example of risky wildlife encounters in national parks this summer.
This time, tourists are shown crowding around one of the most powerful and unpredictable predators — a mama grizzly and her cubs.
The video, which was posted to the @TouronsofYellowstone Instagram account, shows a huge crowd of spectators, including parents with their kids, gathered around the bear family as it ventures through a field near Grand Prismatic Spring, according to the caption on the video.
“Momma grizzly and her two 2 year old cubs…told people to leave and no one moved,” the caption on the Aug. 4 video says. “I tried my best to get them away but man these people were clueless. We eventually had to bail but they were getting even closer as I left.”
Luckily, no one appears to get hurt in the video. But commentary about the video suggests it could have ended much differently — with the bears paying the price for the tourist’s behavior.
“Closing in on them is inviting an attack,” someone said. “Such an event would lead to the extermination of the mother and leave the cubs helpless.”
The person pleaded for visitors to respect wild animals, their habitats and their territory in the park. “It is a mother grizzly with her cubs,” they added. “This is not a zoo.”
“What’s sad is that if the mom attacked she’d be put down,” someone else said. “These people don’t know the consequences of what they’re doing.”
Visitors should always stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards — about the length of two buses — away from all other wildlife, including bison and elk, the National Park Service website says.
Officials recommend viewing wildlife from the safety of a car using binoculars and/or telephoto lenses — not approaching to get a good photo with a smartphone.
“The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be,” officials said. “Every year people are injured when they approach animals too closely. Animals that attack people may need to be killed.”
Photos, videos and news stories of people getting too close to dangerous wildlife or natural features in national parks /have/ “skyrocketed this summer,” KBZK reported.
Although the National Park Service does not track these incidents, a West Yellowstone tour guide told the station he’s seen tourist behavior get worse in the last few years, and he thinks social media may be partly to blame.
“We’re seeing people being more brazen,” Larry Bloomfield told the station. “They’re getting out and doing more to try and make a statement: ‘I got away with this. I think this was great. See what I did.’”