It’s still not known where videos of a man jumping out of his car to harass black bears were taken, but it wasn’t in Yellowstone Park.
National Park Service officials wrapped up an investigation into the videos this week and conclude that they weren’t made in or near Yellowstone, the park’s chief of public affairs Morgan Warthin told Cowboy State Daily.
“The investigation led by park law enforcement officers recently revealed that the incidents did not occur in Yellowstone, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem or in any other national park,” Warthin said, adding that, “we have no additional information to share.”
Bear Gets Fed Up In Third Video
A series of three Instagram videos caused a stir on social media after being posted to the “Tourons of Yellowstone” account.
They show an unidentified man getting out of his vehicle and brazenly approaching black bears by the roadside, making growling and barking noises while an accomplice takes video from inside the vehicle.
In the first two videos, the bears looked baffled, then lumbered off.
In a third video, however, the bear stands its ground, gives the man the evil eye, and then starts after him as the man runs back to his vehicle, yelping profanity. He makes it back to the vehicle before the bear catches him.
‘Incredibly Disturbing And Disrespectful’
The videos drew a whirlwind of reaction ranging from amusement to scorn.
And while Yellowstone officials have now ruled out that any of its bears were harassed, Wyoming wildlife enthusiasts aren’t any less put off by the harassment.
Avid bear hunter and conservationist Joe Kondelis of Cody recently told Cowboy State Daily that the videos made him livid and say that, “A guy like that deserves to have his ass kicked by a bear.”
Wildlife photographer Tammy Neufeld of Thayne told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that she was offended by the man’s antics, and was disappointed that he hadn’t been caught.
I have seen the videos and they're incredibly disturbing and disrespectful,” she said. “I agree with park officials (about it not being in Yellowstone) because I didn't recognize the area or landscape in the videos as being within the park either.
“At this point it's really surprising to me that this guy hasn't been outed. Social media sleuths are usually pretty good at finding people and calling them out, so he might very well get away with it at this point.”
Pattern Of Bad Behavior
Neufeld said the videos are part of a larger pattern of bad behavior she’s seen in Yellowstone and Teton parks. Although most tourists remain respectful, even as visitor numbers have surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Honestly, it's just one more thing in a growing wave of entitled and disrespectful behavior towards wildlife I've seen in parks in the last few years,” Neufeld said. “People screaming and shouting at wildlife, bringing barking dogs to bear encounters, throwing things at wildlife to get them to look up.”
“Countering that though are the many, many people who are amazing and just want to see and learn,” she added. “I spend more than half my shooting time at any 'encounter' talking to people, sharing what I know and hearing what they've seen and experienced and that part is great.”