Aspen police: Don’t take selfies with bears | PostIndependent.com

Aspen police: Don’t take selfies with bears

Staff report
A bear seen in a tree in Aspen on Sept. 14.
Michael Bennett / Swift Communications
STEPS TO ALLEVIATE HUMAN-BEAR CONFLICT
  1. If you see an officer and caution tape around town, please keep moving and encourage onlookers to do the same.
  2. Don’t post pictures of bears in trees to your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media accounts, it only creates bigger crowds showing up for bear viewing.
  3. Encourage your peers to join the Aspen Bears “Selfie Strike” by sharing the Aspen Police’s most recent Facebook post to show your support for our local bears.
Source: Aspen Police Department

In a press release sent on Thursday, Aspen police ask the public refrain from taking selfies with bears for their safety as well as the bears’.

According to the release, Aspen police spent most of the day Wednesday monitoring a mom and two cubs who were occupying a tree on the Hyman Avenue mall. When the bears came down in the evening, the situation was escalated by the bears being surrounded and followed by picture takers, especially people getting close enough for selfies with the bears.

The situation escalated further when the bears tried to make a break for it and were pursued by video takers. The cubs ended up being separated from the mother.

“The mother bear returned to the mall, very agitated and making loud crying sounds,” according to the release. “’People were still walking right up to her, even when it was clear she was agitated and growling as people got close,’ [Sergeant Rob] Fabrocini said.”

Officers encouraged the crowds to disperse and now encourage future onlookers to leave the bears alone.

“Although black bear attacks are uncommon, they are more likely to occur in a situation when a bear is being harassed by onlookers,” according to the release. “If a bear attacks a human it may be euthanized by Colorado Parks & Wildlife. What may seem like an opportunity for a good selfie, could cost a bear it’s life.”