National parks jokingly warn not to ‘push a slower friend’ if you encounter a bear


The National Park Service has some important bear tips on what not to do if you — and a friend — encounter a bear in the wild.

“If you encounter a bear, never push a slower friend down”, the agency wrote on Twitter on Tuesday“even if you feel the friendship has run its course.”

The agency used the lighthearted joke as a transition to more serious bear safety advice.

“Seeing a bear in the wild is a treat for any national park visitor,” the agency wrote in another tweet. “While this is an exciting time, it’s important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous.”

Bears of different species make their home in various habitats across the United States. Brown or grizzly bears are found in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington, while black bears can be found throughout much of the Northeast, Appalachia, and the West Coast, in addition to parts of the South and Midwest.

The service points out that as spring approaches, the bears will become more active. On their website, the National Park Service advises visitors who encounter a bear to keep their distance from the animal and not startle the bear if it hasn’t noticed you yet. If the bear notices you, you should “identify” as a human by standing still, speaking calmly, and waving your arms. Hikers should also travel in groups if possible.

The website also notes that bear attacks are rare but can occur.

On Twitter, users seemed more interested in asking for more friendship tips from the National Park Service than learning more about bear safety.

One user, for example, asked what he should do “if he considers me a friend, but I just consider him an acquaintance.”

“Friendships are special, but they don’t happen by chance,” the agency replied. “It takes effort and trust to build a lasting friendship. Good luck.”


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