The National Park Service is once again offering bear safety tips — and that includes asking tourists to avoid pushing their friends down when bears are around.
Park rangers shared a public safety announcement Sunday on what to do if you get a little too close to a bear.
The bear will show you signs that you’re invading its space, officials said, but it’s up to you to know what to do from there.
“If a bear clacks its teeth, sticks out its lips, huffs, woofs, or slaps the ground with its paws, it is warning you that you are too close and are making it nervous,” the National Park Service said. “The bear’s nervous? Heed this warning and slowly back away.”
Backing away slowly may seem like simple advice to follow, but there are quite a few things to avoid when it comes to bear safety.
First, you should never play dead, run, shout or make any sudden movements. You also should never push a friend down to save yourself, the National Park Service said.
“Do not run up and push the bear and do not push a slower friend down…even if you feel the friendship has run its course,” park rangers said.
Running away can trigger a bear to chase you, and you probably aren’t faster. They can chase elk and other animals on a daily basis, according to the National Park Service.
Climbing a tree also isn’t a good option because bears can climb. They’ll make sure they get what they want, even if it’s in a tree.
“Running to a tree or frantically climbing a tree may provoke a bear to chase you,” the National Park Service said. “If the friend you pushed down somehow made it up a tree and is now extending you a hand, there’s a good chance you’re not getting up that tree. Karma’s a bear.”
This isn’t the first time the National Park Service has reminded tourists not to push their friends into bears. Last year the agency reminded parkgoers of the same thing: don’t run and don’t push your friends.
The best thing to do is slowly put distance between yourself and the bear, draw bear spray and prepare yourself to use it if the bear charges toward you.
If you’re involved in any conflict with a bear, you should report it to the National Park Service, even if it’s minor.
“Knowledge and understanding of bears and bear behavior can help decrease the chances of bear encounters and diffuse aggressive encounters when they occur,” the National Park Service said. “If you haven’t already, review the best practices.”
In Yellowstone, a grizzly charged a ranger on the same day a hiker was seriously injured by a grizzly. The hiker came face-to-face with two bears while walking alone on a trail. It was the first time this year a bear injured someone within the park, Yellowstone officials said.
Earlier in May, a grizzly ran toward a woman who was standing within feet of the bear and appeared to be taking photos or videos with her phone. Park officials are now investigating the incident.
“We’ve already seen numerous close calls with bears this year and had one visitor seriously injured last week,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said. “Visitors need to maintain appropriate distances to wildlife and understand these animals are wild and can kill or injure humans very easily if threatened.”
Bears roam all over the park, and hundreds of grizzlies roam the greater Yellowstone area, according to the National Park Service.
Tourists should stay at least 100 yards away from bears at all times at Yellowstone, and hikers should carry bear spray with them.
“All of Yellowstone is bear habitat — from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful,” park officials said. “Prepare for bear encounters no matter where you go.”