U.S. Forest Service officials at a Lake Tahoe nature center are warning intrepid, smartphone-toting visitors not to pose for “selfies” with dangerous bears.
“We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” Lake Tahoe Basin Management spokesperson Lisa Herron told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We are telling people they need to stay on the trails, and they need to stay away from the bears. If a bear has a mind to, it can run very fast.”
The bears reportedly come out to eat during the annual kokanee salmon run at the nature center.
However, according to the report, visitors at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe are increasingly running after the bears to get unique photos. Herron told the Gazette-Journal that people are stopping their cars alongside Route 89 and running across the highway to get a better look.
The report notes that bear attacks on humans are extremely rare, and that bears usually only attack humans when they feel their habitat is threatened. Still, Herron told the paper the situation has become so dangerous that the park may need to completely close off the area to visitors.
“It is presenting a safety issue,” Herron said. “We are afraid someone is going to get attacked.”