Video: Tourists Get Way Too Close to Montana Black Bears, Nearly Get Mauled

   05.11.15

The video below, recorded by Winston Greely and posted to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) Facebook page on May 8, shows what appears to be a black bear sow and her cubs running across a bridge near Gardiner.

When the recording starts, several groups of camera-equipped tourists in dangerously close proximity to the animals are running away from them in a (relatively) leisurely manner. As the bears get closer, an onlooker yells “Keep going! Go, go, go!” and the would-be photographers pick up their pace.

FWP videographer Winston Greely recently captured this footage of a black bear sow and her cubs near Gardiner. It serves as a reminder that wildlife can be unpredictable. For your safety and theirs, respect wildlife and give them room to roam.View and photograph from established observation areas. Stay a safe distance to reduce stress on wildlife. Luckily, no one was hurt and these bears made it safely back to the forest.

Posted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on Friday, May 8, 2015

Luckily, no one was hurt, and many of the tourists successfully escaped to their cars.

The FWP used the incident as a teaching moment, reminding people that “…wildlife can be unpredictable. For your safety and theirs, respect wildlife and give them room to roam. View and photograph from established observation areas. Stay a safe distance to reduce stress on wildlife.”

By our reckoning, it looks like plenty of folks weren’t adhering to those guidelines. What do you think? Can people be successfully educated about safe wildlife observing practices, or will some individuals always manage to get too close for comfort?

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