Mammoth - Yellowstone National Park officials are investigating a report that a man chased bears there. The Cowboy State Daily reported the man was shown on video chasing a bear into the woods, then dancing for the camera.
But park officials say they are not sure the man harrassing bears was in Yellowstone.
On one day this week, more than half a dozen bear jams were in Yellowstone. The bears were easy to see, and hundreds of people came from around the country and the world to see them.
“It’s really cool, actually. It’s cool to see them in their actual habitat,” said bear watcher Elizabeth Delleart, who traveled from France.
When MTN News told Delleart and her companion, Lily Raiberti, someone may have been chasing bears in Yellowstone, they were not happy.
“It’s dangerous and everything, and they could harm the wildlife. Not cool. I think it makes it more dangerous for everyone else,” Raiberti said.
Park Spokesperson Linda Veress confirmed the park is investigating the incidents.
“It’s an illegal act that was both unsafe for the man in the video and for the bear," she said, adding, “We are working to determine if this incident occurred in Yellowstone, or not.
If it did happen in Yellowstone, she said the man would face up to a $5,000 fine, and up to six months in jail.
Several people have been killed by bears in and around the park since 2009, mostly by grizzly bears protecting their territory. In 2015, Cody-area rancher Nic Patrick recalled an incident two years before when a sow attacked him, and, he said, “She initially removed the front portion of my face.”
Patrick spent weeks in the hospital to repair the damage from the grizzly, who was protecting her cubs, on his ranch. He still wears a prosthetic nose. Patrick pointed out man vs. bear is not even a contest.
“A grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, their muscle density is twice what ours is. Right away, they are twice as strong, pound for pound, as you are.”
Patrick did not blame the grizzly that was protecting her cubs on his ranch. He accidentally surprised her.
Veress stressed, “We would like visitors to stay at least 100 yards away from all bears and wolves.”
Park officials are hoping that anyone who knows anything about the incident may see this story or hear about it, and they’re hoping that that person gives them a call on their tipline.