So a bunch of tourist were at Yellowstone National Park when a family of bears attacked. At least that’s the frenzied media reaction I saw this week. But here’s what really happened (from National Geographic):
It started with what’s called a “bear jam,” the park’s term for when visitors stop their cars to gawk at a bear—in this case, a family of bears grazing on a hillside near a bridge.
Suddenly the bears, including a mom and her yearling cubs, took a wrong turn and ended up on the bridge along with the curious human onlookers. Their instinct was to get away from the people as quickly as possible, but the people got frightened and blocked her, says Kerry Gunther, head of bear management at Yellowstone.
“It’s obvious she gets a little nervous as she’s trying to get across the bridge,” says Gunther, who was not present but watched the video and spoke to a park colleague who observed the incident.
“The bear was not after people—it could have easily caught anyone it wanted,” he says, adding that the video shows the bears trying to get around the people, but being thwarted because the humans kept moving.
“Pretty much all the events [in the video] were influenced by human behavior.”
So the bears are minding their own business when a bunch of dopes hop out of their cars to take photos. The bears get scared and try to run away, but the people, instead of clearing a path, block the bears. And you see in the video, there are still a bunch of dopes taking photos.
When I saw the video this week, my first though was: “Those bears are moving kind of slow, aren’t they?” Because bears can outrun humans … and definitely these humans.
That’s the punchline about the two guys in a forest who see a bear coming their way and one says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”
Tourists and wildlife don’t mix. It causes too much distress for the wildlife.