This is a story about an incredibly dumb tourist who is lucky she didn’t get mauled. As you can see from the video above, taken by another tourist from her car, a woman at Yellowstone National Park ignored warnings to return to her car and idiotically decided to videotape a grizzly bear with cubs. In case you’re not familiar with bears, grizzlies are the most dangerous kind, the kind you’re supposed to play dead around if they attack. These are not black bears looking for food who generally avoid confrontation with humans. (Black bears can also be deadly, especially if they’re surprised or are protecting cubs. Here is more about bears and how to identify black vs. grizzly bears.)
I’ve been studying bears because I’ve been hiking a lot and have had at least one scary encounter. I know not to mess with bears, I wear a bell and carry bear spray when I’m in the woods just in case. Thankfully I live in an area which only has black bears, but I digress. Anyway this incident happened back in May. The National Park Service posted a still from the video along with a message asking for help identifying the woman. I’ve embedded the Facebook post below. Of course the person who taped this was also dumb enough to post it on her social media. She’s from Illinois and has been identified and charged.
Authorities come bearing bad news for this foolish tourist.
After footage of a woman getting illegally close to a bear in Yellowstone National Park went viral in May, National Park rangers have been trying to identify the dolt — and now they have.
Through social media, investigators have determined that Illinois woman Samantha Dehring is the person who tried to get a better shot of a massive grizzly and her cubs in the clip, which has been viewed over 93,000 times.
Dehring now faces one count of violating a federal law prohibiting “feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentional disturbing of wildlife nesting, breeding or other activities” and one count of “violating closures and use limits,” the Hill reported based on court documents.
The woman did not make it difficult for law enforcement to find her: She reportedly posted numerous photos of the bears to her Facebook account, captioning one image of the creatures “absolutely floored by the beauty of this place,” the Billings Gazette reported.
It’s a good thing that this woman did not run because it could have turned out much worse for her. You’re not supposed to run from either type of bear. I would say that I hope this is a warning to other people not to get close to bears, but if I’ve learned anything over the past year and a half it’s that people will do whatever the hell they want. Especially if they’re heavy Facebook users. I just hope this fine is steep.
The photos below of bears are stock photos. There’s an amazing live webcam from Katmai National Park in Alaska of bears catching salmon as they swim upstream. At the time this post is being published it’s very early in the morning there, but during the day there are so many bears to watch. I sometimes just have it running in the background.
Photos credit: Patrice Schoefolt and Pixabay on Pexels