Hiking is an incredible way to connect with nature, but it’s also important to remember that the trails are home to the wildlife that you’ve gone out to appreciate.
Take the man in this video, for example.
While out hiking in Katmai National Park in Alaska, a hiker came across a bear and her two young cubs.
Katmai is known as the spot to see bears. It boasts a brown bear population of about 2,200.
For the peninsula that the park is located on, that’s more bears than there are people!
The opportunity to see brown bears in their natural habitat is what draws so many tourists to Katmai National Park every year. The person who captured the moment seen in this video got an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a mother and her two cubs.
However, this person was also very lucky. It can be very dangerous to come between a female bear and her cubs.
Park rangers and scientists work hard to maintain a balance between the desire people have to capture an image of these beautiful animals, while not disturbing them in their homes.
It’s crucial that visitors to Katmai–or any natural habitat of bears–are familiar with and practice these bear safety tips.
The National Parks Services often reminds visitors, “One of your best defenses against bears is your brain.”
Encountering bears while you visit Katmai National Park is pretty much guaranteed, so it’s important to know what to do when this encounter happens.
For one, hiking and traveling in groups while in bear country is a great way to stay safe as bears will be able to sense your arrival sooner. Groups of people are easier for bears to hear and smell. This will keep them from getting spooked.
In the event that you do see a bear before they see you, slowly and quietly back away from the way you came, giving the bear space.
There may also be situations where visibility is limited in bear country making it difficult for you to spot a bear or for a bear to spot you. In these cases, be sure to make noise. The best noise for warning a bear of your arrival is the human voice. You aren’t trying to scare the bear, just let them know you are there.
You should never approach a bear! If a bear reacts to your presence, that means you are too close.
If you have an encounter with a bear, the most important thing is to stay calm. Do not run from the bear and try not to startle it.
While brown bear attacks in North America are rare, park rangers do suggest that you carry bear spray, but the chances of having to use it are very low if you practice all of these bear safety practices.
Enjoy the beauty of this amazing video and remember all of these tips if you ever have an encounter like this!