Forest Service says no more bear selfies — unless it’s with Smokey

Paul Souders snaps a selfie with a female grizzly
Bears are generally quite docile, despite their reputation for ferocity, but don’t take that as permission to take a selfie with one. That’s the U.S. Forest Service’s message to visitors of the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe, after reports of people trying to take selfies with bears feeding on the annual run of kokanee salmon surfaced.

Proving once again that common sense is in short supply, “mobs of people” have been rushing towards the animals in an effort to capture ‘bear selfies’ with their smartphones, a spokeswoman for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management site told USA Today. Though there haven’t been reports of injuries, a bear reportedly charged one group.

So my bear selfie keeps popping up on the internet. Ha. So here it is again. #bearselfie #bear #bears #selfie

A photo posted by Jacob Bean (@jacob_bean) on

Officials, concerned the behavior might provoke the bears to violence, are threatening to close down the area. The heavy mammals are capable of serious damage — black bears, the species native to the area, can weigh as much as 500 pounds and run 35 mph.  

The Forest Service would also really prefer that people not stop their cars and leave marked trails to get a better angle of the bears. As tempting as capturing a photo of these beautiful animals may be to some people, the Forest Service says, it “presents a safety issue.” No kidding.

However, if you still feel tempted to take a bear selfie, you can always count on Smokey the Bear or your own teddy.

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