Park Rangers: Taking A “Bear Selfie” Is Dangerous And You Should Stop It Right Now

No matter how many times you’ve watched The Jungle Book and thought about how great it would be to be friends with Baloo, it’s a movie and forcing a bear to be your friend is not a good idea. Neither is chasing one down in the wild so you can score the perfect selfie. Because, yes, that is now a thing; a very, very dangerous phenomena that rangers have had to warn people to stop doing.

KHOU-TV reports that officials in charge of maintaining the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe are threatening to shut down the area if people don’t heed their warning to stop taking selfies with wild bears.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say the area is a popular spot for people to watch the annual run of kokanee salmon and that bears are often seen lurking nearby.

While that didn’t used to be much of an issue for the service, lately people have begun approaching the bears in order to take photos with the animals.

“We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” Lisa Herron, a spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, tells KHOU.

Herron says the new photo sensation poses a threat not only to the photo taker but also surrounding visitors.

While bear attacks on humans are extremely rare, those hassling the animals in their natural habitat face an increased likelihood of being harmed.

Recently visitors have been charging off trails, through the forest and over the rushing creek to get closer to the bears.

So far, Herron says she’s heard of one incident where a bear charged a group of people, no one injuries were reported from the incident.

This isn’t the first wild animal selfie game that’s been stopped in its tracks. Earlier this year New York banned tiger selfies – better known as the practice of paying to have your photo taken with a large cat.

Forest Rangers Warn Visitors: “Stop Taking ‘Selfies’ With Bears” [KHOU-TV]