Why you shouldn’t get out of your vehicle to take photos of wildlife
According to Stefan Jenart, whose wife recorded the video, there were many tourists who had pulled their cars over to stop and take photos of the bear.
“All of a sudden we see someone running around the car and a bear charging towards a woman. Fortunately the bear doesn’t follow through and the woman is able to walk away,” Jenart explained in an email to Global News.
Jenart and his wife were visiting the area from Belgium and were driving from Jasper towards Calgary through Jasper and Banff national parks.
He told Global News that all of his guides, hosts and park rangers throughout the trip had provided them with very clear instructions about bear safety.
“We knew not to get out of the car and slowly drive past. But apparently not everyone has been given this information or acts upon it,” Jenart said.
Steve Malcolm, a wildlife conflict specialist, said this is a common issue often due to people not understanding the risks of getting too close to a wild animal.
“They’re pretty tolerant up to the point where you really start challenging their safety,” Malcolm said.
LISTEN: Steve Malcolm of Parks Canada explains why you should only observe bears from the safety of your vehicle
He said that this bear in particular showed great restraint and if it had a more aggressive temperament, could have easily injured the woman.
According to Malcolm, Jasper National Park sees around 2.5 million tourists a year and many aren’t familiar with wildlife. He also added there could be a language barrier in some cases. Many of the brochures and warnings are written in English.
Malcolm said people should be encouraged to enjoy all that the national parks have to offer as long as they do so safely and respect the animals’ boundaries.
If you do encounter a wild animal, he says you should stay in your vehicle take your photos and move on so others around can get their turn. In addition to remaining within the safety of a vehicle, Malcolm also said it is important to never feed a wild animal.
“Really the end result is you could put yourself or your pet or your kids in serious danger if that animal decides to become aggressive.”
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