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National Park Service Reminds You Not to Feed Weaker Friends to Attacking Bears

Boo.

sad bear

We know how it is. Things are stressful right now and sometimes the only way to be social or get some exercise is to join friends for a hike or trip to one of our wonderful National Parks. And we get it: you’ve been cooped up for a while, your social skills are not the sharpest. You probably don’t even remember how to have a conversation or interact with people. And people are annoying!

But please, trust us when we say: If you are confronted by a bear, do not throw your friend in front of you as bait and run away, no matter how tire you are of them talking about how they learned to bake artisanal sourdough during the quarantine.

And don’t just trust us here, this advice comes from the actual National Parks Service. They shared this and some other very important tips for what to do when you meet a bear in the wild on their Facebook page and the big one was “Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.⁣⁣”

This, of course, comes with the unwritten caveat that if your friend says they “just don’t think wearing masks does anything” or voices any variations of “well white privilege hasn’t benefited me,” you are a-ok to allow them to give a try at cosplaying the final act of Midsommar.

What are some other things to be aware of when you meet a bear? Well, just don’t run in general. According to the NPS, bears are “like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals.” So distance yourself slowly and carefully, moving sideways if possible and keeping an eye on the bear.

Also, the NPS says: “Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.⁣⁣ Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).” Again, this feels like they don’t know the dynamics of the friendship but … they’re the experts I guess.

But what if the bear approaches you? Well, channel your inner Karen stand your ground and make some noise. Seriously yell. That’s how the bear knows you are not for eating, considering prey animals don’t usually do that. Just waving isn’t enough. Again the NPS: “(Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear).”

Another good thing to know: “The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.⁣⁣”

But if you’re in a group and a bear gets angry, well, the NPS has some final words there too: “We apologize to any ‘friends’ who were brought on a hike as the ‘bait’ or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.”

The best way to avoid this of course is by hiking with enemies, not friends, and so when you have to throw Melissa to a grizzly, you won’t really feel bad at all. She knows what she did.

Happy hiking!

(via: CNN, image: Pexels)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.