National Park Service Hilariously Urges Visitors to NOT Sacrifice Friends to Bears
There's an old saying I've heard many times from friends and family in the mountain west, AKA bear country: "you don't have to run faster than the bear to get away, you just have to run faster than the guy next to you".
While it's both funny and accurate, usually the next line that follows that is to push down a slower friend in order to secure your hasty escape.
Well, the National Park Service (NPS), does NOT want you to do that.
The official NPS Instagram account posted a hilarious photo (which I'm sure they share annually), but this year, they also shared a lengthy message on what to do in case you do actually encounter a bear. The message states:
Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park. While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous.
If you do encounter a bear, stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening. what else should you know?
🐻 Running may trigger a chase response in a bear and you can't outrun a bear. Bears in Yellowstone, for example, chase down elk calves all the time. You do not want to look like a slow elk calf. (Apologies to the elk calf.)
🐻 In most cases, climbing a tree is not your best choice. Bears can climb trees (especially if there is something up the tree that the bear wants). Also, when was the last time you climbed a tree?
🐻 Running to a tree or frantically climbing a tree may also provoke a bear to chase you. If the former friend you pushed down somehow made it up a tree and is now extending you a hand, there’s a good chance you’re not getting up that tree. Karma’s a bear.
Find more bear safety tips at NPS.gov and search “bear safety.”
It was all great advice and a good instance of using comedy to get the best safety practices shared. It was liked over 170,000 times in less than a day.
Well played NPS... well played indeed.