The power of social media has helped Rangers at Yellowstone National Park to track down a foolish tourist, after footage of the woman’s terrifying close call with a grizzly bear went viral.
The video taken by a witness in May shows the moment the bear bluff charges the snap-happy visitor, who reportedly ignored warnings to get in her car.
She continues to take photos, trying to get a better shot of a massive grizzly and her cubs, as onlookers gasp in horror, saying “oh my god”.
The bear then turns away, and the woman escapes unharmed.
Charges laid after social media investigation
The frightening footage of the woman getting illegally close to the bear went viral, clocking up more than 93,000 views on social media.
Yellowstone took to Instagram seeking help to identify the woman, with the post attracting thousands of furious comments.
One person said: “Then the bear pays the consequences of a human’s stupid and thoughtless decision.”
Another wrote: “Her smug attitude is outrageous. No respect for the bear, only focused on herself.”
“And of course if she would have been hurt or killed it would have been the bear’s fault and they would put the bear down!!! Stupid, stupid people!!!! All for a picture, if you want an up close picture buy a camera that has a lens that gets you up close and personal!” posted by another person.
It was a tip-off in response to the post that ultimately led to investigators charging Samantha Dehring.
The Illinois woman is facing charges of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife and violating closures and use limits.
According to park regulations, all visitors must stay a minimum of 91 metres away from bears and wolves.
The social distancing rules were introduced after three people were killed by bears in separate incidents 2011 and 2015.
There is an average of one bear attack at Yellowstone each year.
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