A Yellowstone park ranger was captured on video as he faced off with a grizzly bear that had already proven it had no fear of humans. In fact, the apex predator had already mauled one person earlier in the day, making the shocking clip all the more heart-pounding.
Deby Dixon, a wildlife photographer, writer, and advocate of the Greater Yellowstone Eco-system, decided to bring attention to a troubling trend after viewing a video captured by onlookers at Yellowstone National Park.
While many have reacted with excitement, calling the footage some of the wildest ever seen “from one of the wildest places on the planet,” Deby had a different take on the clip.
“This is why visitors should maintain their distance from the bears. This guy meant business!” Deby warned on her Facebook page called “Deby’s Wild World” as she shared the shocking footage which featured a Yellowstone park ranger facing off with a charging grizzly bear. Making matters worse, the aggressive male bear had allegedly mauled a hiker in a different part of the park that same day.
Referring to the male bear as a boar, Deby helps contextualize the situation in the video, writing, “This boar had been following a girl around all day, in Yellowstone, and was reported to have charged about 6 cars throughout the day when people blocked the bear’s path.” The “girl” Deby seems to be referring to was presumably a female bear, also called a sow.
“Apparently, the sow would cross the road, and then people would pull their car up in front of the boar to get photos, blocking him from reuniting with his girlfriend,” Deby continued. “As you can see, getting between a grizzly and what he wants can be bad news,” she added, and it’s easy to see exactly what she means when you watch the heart-pounding clip.
As seen in the footage, the unnamed park ranger was outside his vehicle, attempting to direct traffic when he was suddenly charged by an aggressive male grizzly bear, which appears to “possibly have been limping on its front leg” and “could explain its aggressive behavior,” according to Newsbreak.
The charging bear seems to catch the ranger off guard, but thankfully, he is able to retreat to safety, going behind his truck bed where he fires off some rubber bullets in self-defense to fend off the predator. After the bear retreats into the words, the ranger reportedly uses explosive devices — presumably “bird bombs” — to drive the animal further away with the loud noise.
While many might be thinking, alls well that ends well, Deby Dixon pointed out that that wasn’t exactly the case in this situation. Instead, after reportedly speaking with a Yellowstone bear manager about the issue, she said, “Even after this boar charged the ranger, several visitors and photographers were standing along the road, watching the sow leave, despite not knowing where the boar had gone.”
Indeed, this is troubling since Yellowstone’s National Park Service makes many recommendations regarding bear safety, including directing visitors to “keep at least 100 yards (93 m) from bears at all times and never approach a bear to take a photo.” This is especially important if the visitor can’t safely get back to their vehicle quickly since a bear is more than capable of running you down in a hurry if he wants. You should never turn your back on or run from a bear. There are many other safety tips to observe:
If in your car and approached by a bear, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior, the guidance also says. In addition, the National Park Service instructs visitors to “never feed bears” since “bears that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed.” Other safety precautions suggest reviewing “the best practices before you hike or camp in bear country, and learn what to do if you encounter a bear,” as well as learning “about bear spray, a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent.”
Although the National Park Service points out that “more people have died by drowning or suffering thermal burns from hot springs than aggressive bears,” it also warns that “there is an average of one bear attack per year in Yellowstone,” and that, “In separate incidents in 2011 and 2015, three people were killed by bears inside the park.” So, simply put, it’s better safe than very, very sorry.