Going to an outdoors getaway this weekend? Here’s a tip: Don’t take any selfies with bears. That might sound like a joke, but it has become such a big problem in Lake Tahoe that the U.S. Forest Service has issued a warning to visitors to keep their distance.
The Taylor Creek area in particular has drawn the interest of bear-selfie-seekers. The area has a high salmon population this time of year, which in turn brings in a lot of bears—making it fairly common to encounter one.
Taylor Creek park officials want to remind people that the bears are wild animals, and dangerously unpredictable.
Spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Lisa Herron, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that mobs of people actually rush toward the bears in an effort to snap a selfie photo.
“It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked,” she said.
One visitor, Manut Buapet, told ABC News that the bears weren’t at all afraid of people. She said there were up to 30 people at a time near the bears trying to get pictures.
“I was concerned. You never know what’s going to happen with bears, but people just stuck around,” She said, noting that one bear cub came within two feet of the gathered tourists.
Forest service officials say that unless tourists start giving bears more space, the visitor center might have to shut down.