Yes, bear selfies are a thing. And yes, US state park officials actually have to tell people they’re a bad idea.
#BearSelfies hit the web in recent months and it is what it sounds like: people taking photos of themselves with wild bears in the background.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, U.S. Forest officials in South Lake Tahoe are getting tad bit irritated with the movement.
"We've had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a 'selfie' photo," Lisa Herron, spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, told the Gazette-Journal. “We are telling people they need to stay on the trails and they need to stay away from the bears. If a bear has a mind to it can run very fast."
The officials are at the point where they’re considering shutting down the park to prevent what could easily become a tragic incident of human-wildlife conflict.
It’s great that people are showing an interest in wildlife, particularly animals that are often maligned or misunderstood like bears. But a degree of common sense is required. By trying to get selfies – or baiting for photos with traditional cameras – we’re disrupting their lives and creating the potential for conflict.
Wild animals deserve to be wild. They’ve learned to live with us – it’s only right that we learn to live with them.