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Monday, October 27, 2014

Park Police to Hikers: Stop Taking Selfies With Bears

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 9:01 AM

click to enlarge This is an appropriate distance as long as the bear is stuffed - FLICKR/KALEY HAYDEN
The fact that hikers didn't know this already makes it news. Either that or a potential Darwin Award. 

For whatever reason, Tahoe hikers have taken on a new dangerous pastime of snapping selfies with the physically powerful predators. We get it: bears are cute, but a cranky, hungry bear is not.

National Parks officials have been spreading the word through local media, explaining that taking selfies with bears is not the best idea, seeing how bears are unpredictable, wild, and fully prepared to attack if bothered.

They can also run a hell of a lot faster than you. 

“We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” Lisa Herron, spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked.”

If this nonsense keeps up, park officials have warned they will close visitor centers. 

Here's some helpful advice from the National Parks Service:
If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.)-you're too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don't run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act aggressively to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick. Don't run and don't turn away from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.
While we're on the topic: You really shouldn't take selfies with mountain lions, sharks, or snakes, either. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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