Oh man, it’s a possibly dangerous wild animal! Let’s take a picture!
That’s the reaction of some visitors to scenic Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe, and officials with the U.S. Forest Service say it has to stop. Campers and hikers with nothing more than a smartphone in hand have been getting too close for comfort with some of the area’s large, furry omnivores. “We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” Lisa Herron, a spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked.” There haven’t been any injuries reported so far, she told the newspaper. The black bears native to California and Nevada generally don’t want to have anything to do with humans and will seek to avoid a face-off. But that doesn’t mean they make great props for a killer Instagram. Males of the species can weigh as much as 500 pounds and run at 35 mph, according to the Forest Service.
--- Matthew DeLuca