Video circulating on social media shows a grizzly charging at a ranger in Yellowstone National Park last Friday.
According to a statement from YNP officials, the incident occurred on May 28 when a park ranger arrived at a bear jam between Norris Junction and Swan Lake Flat.
The statement said several people were out of their vehicles and within 20 yards of a breeding pair of grizzly bears. People were approaching the bears too closely to take photos and blocking them from crossing the road.
The ranger is seen in the video diverting traffic and attempting to get people out of the area when the male grizzly bluff-charges him.
The ranger fled behind his truck and hazed the bear into the forest with bean bag rounds, rubber bullets, and cracker shells, according to YNP.
YNP reminds the public always to stay at least 100 yards from bears, and anyone stopping to watch a roadside bear is responsible for not behaving in ways that put people, or bears, at risk.
“We’ve already seen numerous close calls with bears this year and had one visitor seriously injured last week,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “Visitors need to maintain appropriate distances to wildlife and understand these animals are wild and can kill or injure humans very easily if threatened. The resource management bear technician in the video did an excellent job of hazing the aggressive bear away from visitors who obviously had no clue what kind of danger they were in. His actions likely saved lives. Non-lethal bean bags and rubber bullets were used in this situation and are some of the tools we use to haze wildlife away from visitors.”
The statement said hazing bears away from developed areas and roads helps protect visitors, as well as the bear, and reduces traffic congestion.
Wild animals in Yellowstone National Park are exactly that - wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it space. Yellowstone National Park guidelines state that visitors must stay 25 yards away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes - and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.
(Updated with additional information from Yellowstone National Park officials, 5:25 p.m. MDT, 06/02/2021)