In an apparent attempt to save the lives of the slow, out of shape, and generally not so fleet of foot from the hungry and painful mouths of bears the National Park Service took to Facebook to urge its visitors, “READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.”
The beginning of the Park Service’s post was (mostly) in jest. (But really, please don’t shove your flat-footed friends into the mouths of charging bears.) The rest of the post was more practical information on how to avoid bears and what to do when you encounter them. (Hint: climbing a tree won’t help.)
Here’s the full post from the National Parks Services:
READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.
As a follow-up to a previous post, if you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees. Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).
Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
Find more tips, check out https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/index.htm
P.S. We apologize to any “friends” who were brought on a hike as the “bait” or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.
Image: Bear resting on a log thinking bear things at Katmai National Park & Preserve. NPS/ J. Ehrlenbach
Okay, that’s all well and good but, like, worst case scenario I’m still shoving my slow friend backward just to be sure. It’s not that I have a lot to live for or anything, I just don’t want to go out as a bear’s dinner. I’ve seen Grizzly Man. Seems terrible.