Grizzly bear. Credit: National Park Service

Whoever runs the National Park Service‘s Facebook has been killing it for years, with both fun humor and a good bit of dark humor. A post detailing bear safety presented a very clear message to guests of national parks – stay bear aware, don’t wind up as a beaar bearrito.

National Park Service:

It’s been said people in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world…FALSE. Hammocks are the soft taco of the bear world. Sleeping bags are the burrito.⁣

Don’t become a bearrito. Be bear aware. Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park. While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous. Once a bear has noticed you and is paying attention to you, additional strategies can help prevent the situation from escalating. ⁣

🐻 Identify yourself by talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. ⁣

🐻 Remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. It may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening. ⁣

🐻 Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Bears may also react defensively by woofing, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws, and laying their ears back. ⁣

🐻 Continue to talk to the bear in low tones; this will help you stay calmer, and it won’t be threatening to the bear. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack. ⁣

🐻 Pick up small children immediately. ⁣

🐻 Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. ⁣

🐻 Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). ⁣

🐻 If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping.⁣

🐻 Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear and make the problem worse for others. ⁣

🐻 Keep a flashlight and your bear spray in the tent at night. In a backcountry camp, place sleeping areas at least 100 yards away from cooking and food storage areas.

For more information on staying bear aware, head to the National Park Service website.

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