There are some things that you would think wouldn’t have to spelled out for people. Well that list just seems to be getting shorter and shorter.
The latest item to be crossed off the above mentioned list is telling people not to “take selfies with bears.” That’s exactly what officials with the U.S. Forest Service, at Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe, are doing.
The creek is the site of a massive annual kokanee salmon run upstream, which also attracts hungry bears looking to nab a meal. Lately the spectacle has also been attracting loads of selfie-drunk photographers, equipped with smartphones, hunting a different prey – another social media selfie profile photo.
“We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” said Lisa Herron, spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
The area closes for the season in a few days, but the situation has become so serious that if it continues next spring then the Forest Service will consider shutting some photographer-heavy spots.
“It is very possible, yes,” Herron said. “It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked.”
As Adventure Journal puts it – Well, yeah!
Bear attacks on people are extremely rare. However people running close to the animals in their natural habitat is obviously going to increase the likelihood of spooking the animal. The Daily Mail details that there has been at least one report of a bear charging a group, thankfully however no injuries were reported.
In addition to the bear selfie issue, people are pulling their cars over on the California State Route 89 and running across the highway to get closer to the bears. Herron said, “They’re also charging off trails, through the forest and even over the creek to get closer to the hungry bears.”
“We are telling people they need to stay on the trails and they need to stay away form the bears,” she said. “If a bear has a mind to it can run very fast.”
So there you go, while we encourage you to get out and explore nature and wildlife – don’t take selfies with bears…unless of course the bear is the one taking the picture.
Featured Photo: Tambako The Jaguar (Flickr)