People often think of government bureaucrats as being boring stuffed shirts, but whoever runs social media at the National Park Service is proving that at least some of them have a sense of humor.
In a Facebook post, the NPS shared some seasonal advice for park-goers about what to do if they happen to encounter a bear, and it's both helpful and hilarious. Not that a confrontation with a bear in real life is a laughing matter—bears can be dangerous—but humor is a good way to get people to pay attention to important advice.
"If a bear clacks its teeth, sticks out its lips, huffs, woofs, or slaps the ground with its paws, it is warning you that you are too close and are making it nervous. The bear's nervous? Heed this warning and slowly back away. What else should you do or not do if you come across a bear in Yellowstone?
Do not immediately drop to the ground and "play dead." Bears can sense overacting.
Do not run, shout, or make sudden movements.
Do not run up and push the bear and do not push a slower friend down…even if you feel the friendship has run its course.
Running may trigger a chase response in the bear and you can't outrun a bear. Bears in Yellowstone chase down elk calves all the time. You do not want to look like a slow elk calf. (Apologies to the elk calf.)
Slowly putting distance between yourself and the bear may defuse the situation.
Draw your bear spray from the holster, remove the safety tab, and prepare to use it if the bear charges.
In most cases, climbing a tree is a poor decision. Bears can climb trees (especially if there is something up the tree that the bear wants). Also, when was the last time you climbed a tree?
Running to a tree or frantically climbing a tree may provoke a bear to chase you. If the friend you pushed down somehow made it up a tree and is now extending you a hand, there's a good chance you're not getting up that tree. Karma's a bear."
They also shared this link to more bear safety tips on the NPS website.
Well done, random National Park Service employee. Thank you for entertaining us while educating the public about wildlife safety at the same time.
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