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Bear charges tourist in Alberta; incident renews wildlife warnings

(Courtesy Twitter @Albertaparks)

Video shows group of people taking pictures of a black bear; woman turns back and bear charges up to her

CALGARY – A video being shared online showing a tourist being charged by a bear in Jasper National Park is renewing warnings about approaching wildlife.

The video shows a group of people stopped along Highway 93, taking pictures of a black bear. It seems calm at first, but when one tourist has her back turned, the bear charges up to her. Nobody was injured, but officials say this shows the danger people put themselves in.

Officials say people need to give space when visiting animals in their habitat, and Jay Honeyman with Alberta Environment and Parks said it’s too easy to get too close.

“The thing with wildlife is they all have a line in the sand that once you cross that line, you’ll get a response back from the animal and what’s unknown is where that line in the sand is,” explained Honeyman.

People also risk legal issues in these situations, with the possibility of receiving a fine for harassing wildlife. That’s on top of the risk to their health, and the health of the bear if it ends up attacking a human.

It’s best to practice some common sense in these situations by staying somewhere safe, because no photo is worth getting mauled.

“If you are having an interaction with an animal, and it ends up responding either by leaving or charging you — you got too close,” added Honeyman.

The worst thing someone can do is assume they are safe around powerful predators, because as Honeyman mentioned, that line in the sand can be easily crossed and there’s no turning back after that.

“There is a point where you’re too close and the animal is going to take exception to that.”