As national parks across the US begin to reopen after coronavirus closures, the National Park Service has issued some tongue-in-cheek advice for what to do if you encounter bears out in the wilderness.

“Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself,” the NPS’ official account posted on Facebook. “Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. … Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).”

NPS  offers tongue-in-cheek advice for dealing with bears
National Park Service issues 'advice' for dealing with grizzly bears © BGSmith/Shutterstock

The area around Yellowstone National Park has seen a record number of grizzly bear attacks this year, possibly because more people are looking to get outside for a socially distanced summer vacation. Seven incidents with grizzly bears that have resulted in injuries have been reported so far in 2020, but the average number in other years is one. 

Yellowstone National Park has said after a slow start, visitor numbers have hugely increased, even surpassing last year’s tallies for the same time frame. Some rangers are concerned about visitors bringing coronavirus with them; two staff members and three visitors have tested positive for COVID-19, and health officials have found the virus in the park’s sewage.

Even though the tone of the advice was humorous, the National Park Service’s Facebook post did contain sound strategies and its standard advice for bear encounters: “Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all?”

⁣⁣But hopefully, no one was harmed in the making of the post.

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

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