The post from the MFWP via social media included this information: "It (the video) 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."
Clearly the individuals on the left with photography equipment were not situated at "established observation areas."
The visitors were lucky that the three cubs were about 13 months old. Since they were older, the mother was not as protective as she might have been had the cubs been younger. As it stands, the bears look to be more scared, annoyed and confused than anything.
The National Park Service instructs that if you see a bear in a developed area, "keep your distance (at least 50 yards, or about the distance four shuttle buses parked end to end would take up). If you get closer, you will be helping the bear become used to being around people."
That wasn't so easy for the tourists in the video, as the bears were going in the same direction that they were.
Nevertheless, MFWP advises that park visitors should do the following:
• Stay calm • Immediately pick up small children and stay in a group (the people in the recent incident broke off into separate groups)
• Slowly back away, if possible • Do not run Not running (also advised for encounters with aggressive dogs) is tough for most people, given that our "fight or flight" fear system kicks in. The MFWP, however, explains that "running may trigger a natural predator-prey attack response" from the bear.
Black Bear Hibernation Mystery
Black bears tend to be significantly smaller than grizzly bears, so that was another stroke of luck for the park visitors.
Hopefully the mother and her cubs have not become too acclimated to humans, losing their fear of them. As a saying at the parks goes, "A fed bear is a dead bear." Often bears that habitually get too close to people will be killed.
Photo: Still from the video shot at Yellowstone National Park. Credit, Winston Greely, MFWP