Don’t push friends down to save yourself in bear encounter, National Park Service says

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FILE – In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a grizzly bear roams an exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo, closed for nearly three months because of the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle. Grizzly bears once roamed the rugged landscape of the North Cascades in Washington state but few have been sighted in recent decades. The federal government is scrapping plans to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(WTAJ) — The National Park Service (NPS) is providing some important advice for anyone confronted by a bear: don’t push your slower friends down in an attempt to save yourself.

In a Facebook post, the NPS shared tips on what to do if you run into a bear during your outdoor adventures. “Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course),” they said.

Some applicable tips that don’t put your hiking partner in jeopardy include moving away slowly and sideways. This strategy allows for you to move away in a non-threatening way and keep an eye on the bear while avoiding tripping, according to the NPS.

The NPS said that like dogs, bears will chase fleeing animals. You should not run and you should not climb a tree to try and evade the bear. Both black bears and grizzlies can climb trees. If the bear follows you, stand and hold your ground.

Staying calm is the most important thing in this situation. The NPS suggests identifying yourself as a human by making noise as a way to let the bear know that you are not a prey animal.

Bears may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. However, the NPS said that a standing bear is usually curious and not threatening.

“P.S. We apologize to any ‘friends’ who were brought on a hike as the ‘bait’ or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed,” the NPS said at the end of their post.

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