Forest Service Bear Selfie : Wildlife officials warn, Stop taking selfie with bears

Updated: October 30, 2014
Forest Service Bear selfies : Wildlife officials warn, Stop taking seflies with bears

Forest Service: Bear selfie are not a necessity.

Going to an outdoors getaway this weekend? Here’s a tip: Don’t take any selfies with bears. That might sound like a joke, but it has become such a big problem in Lake Tahoe that the U.S. Forest Service has issued a warning to visitors to keep their distance.

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

The problem is getting bad enough that officials are threatening to close down the area if that’s what it takes to keep careless people away from dangerous wildlife.

“It is very possible, yes,” Herron said. “It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked.”

Bear attacks on people are extremely rare. But people hassling the animals in their natural habitat increases the likelihood of danger. Herron said she heard one report of a bear charging a group. But no injuries were reported, she said.

In addition to bear selfies, Herron said people are stopping their cars along California State Route 89 and running across the highway to get a closer look at the animals. They’re also charging off trails, through the forest and even over the creek to get closer to the hungry bears, she said.

“We are telling people they need to stay on the trails and they need to stay away form the bears,” she said. “If a bear has a mind to it can run very fast.”

People who are more interested in bear safety than bear selfies can go here to learnabout how to act properly in bear country.