US woman jailed for too-close bear photo

By: AFP      Published: 10:19 AM, 9 Oct, 2021
US woman jailed for too-close bear photo
Video grab.

A US woman who got up close and personal with a grizzly bear so she could take a photo has been jailed for four days.

Samantha Dehring got within a few feet of the enormous animal and her three cubs so she could snap her picture in Yellowstone National Park in May.

The 25-year-old was with a group of other tourists when the razor-clawed creature arrived.

As other visitors backed away to the safety of their vehicles -- following instructions from park rangers -- Dehring went towards the bear and snapped away.

"Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish," said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray in Wyoming, where the bulk of the sprawling reserve is located.

"Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”

"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are, indeed, wild. The park is not a zoo where animals can be viewed within the safety of a fenced enclosure. They roam freely in their natural habitat and when threatened will react accordingly."

Park rules say visitors should stay at least 100 yards (90 meters) away from bears and wolves.

Dehring admitted the offense and was jailed for four days and fined $1,000.

Yellowstone was the first national park established in the United States. It stretches for more than 3,000 square miles (7,700 square kilometers) and includes attractions such as Old Faithful, a huge geyser. 

The park was the inspiration for Jellystone Park in the 1960s cartoon "Yogi Bear", featuring a friendly, but permanently hungry, bear whose chief preoccupation is snaffling visitors' "pic-a-nic baskets."