Do not 'push a slower friend down' if you encounter a bear, National Park Service warns

ByZoe Sottile, CNNWire
Sunday, March 5, 2023
Do not 'push a slower friend down' if you encounter a bear, National Park Service warns
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The National Park Service has some bear-y important tips for what not to do if you -- and a friend -- encounter a bear in the wild.

The National Park Service has some bear-y important tips for what not to do if you -- and a friend -- encounter a bear in the wild.

"If you come across a bear, never push a slower friend down," the agency wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, "even if you feel the friendship has run its course."

The agency used the lighthearted joke as a segue into some more serious bear safety tips.

"Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park," the agency wrote in another tweet. "While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous."

Bears of different species make their homes in various habitats across the United States. Brown or grizzly bears are found across Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington, while black bears can be found throughout most of the Northeast, the Appalachian mountains and the West Coast, in addition to portions of the South and Midwest.

The service points out that as spring approaches, bears will become more active. On their website, the National Park Service advises visitors who encounter a bear to keep their distance from the animal and to not surprise the bear if it hasn't noticed you yet. If the bear notices you, you should "identify yourself" as a human by standing still, talking calmly and waving your arms. Hikers should also travel in groups if possible.

The website also notes that bear attacks are rare but can occur.

Video from the homeowner's Ring camera shows the bear munching on a snack left on the porch and then stealing a package full of bagels.

On Twitter, users seemed more interested in soliciting further friendship advice from the National Park Service than learning more about bear safety.

One user, for instance, asked what they should do "if they consider me a friend, but I just consider them an acquaintance."

"Friendships are special, but they don't happen by chance," the agency replied. "It takes effort and trust to build a lasting friendship. Good luck."

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