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Careless Yosemite hikers stop for casual chat right beside mother bear and cubs

By Cat Ellis,

2023-03-14

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Three visitors have been spotted in Yosemite National Park taking a break from their hike for a casual chat – right beside a mother black bear and her two cubs. The incident, which you can watch below, was captured on camera by another hiker who couldn't believe what they were seeing.

Bears are common in Yosemite, and according to the National Park Service (NPS), the park is home to around 300-500 of the animals. They are naturally wary of humans and prefer to keep their distance, but females (known as sows) can be particularly defensive and aggressive if they feel their cubs are threatened.

The video, which you can watch below, was shared on Instagram account touronsofnationalparks , which highlights bad behavior at sites of natural beauty in the US, often involving wildlife. The clip contains some bad language.

Seeing bears at a safe distance can be a highlight of a trip to Yosemite. If you see one in an undeveloped area of the park, you should stay at least 50 feet away to avoid disturbing it.

The best way to avoid a close encounter while hiking is to make sure the animals know you are coming by making noise and traveling in a group. If you do accidentally stumble across one at close range due to narrow, twisting trails and poor visibility, it's important to resist the temptation to run, which can cause the animal to see you as potential prey and give chase.

Instead, talk in a calm and consistent manner to identify yourself as human, and back away while facing the bear (so you can watch its movements) without making direct eye contact. In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Black bears eat carrion, so playing dead won't deter them. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you meet a bear .

If you want to spot a bear at Yosemite this year, you'll need to wait a while for the spring thaw. The park is currently closed to the public due to extreme winter storms and deep snow, and may partially reopen this Friday at the earliest. The NPS will publish an update later this month, so keep an eye on the park's Twitter account for the latest news.

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