As more people move into the West, interactions between humans and bears have increased. Now Yellowstone National Park is asking visitors to help save bears by honking at them.
Visitors to the nation’s oldest national park aren’t treating bruins like the wild and potentially dangerous animals they can be.
In fact, some people are feeding bears from their cars.
“A fed bear is basically a dead bear,” said Yellowstone spokesperson Morgan Warthin.
She is asking visitors to scare those hungry bears away by honking at them and then driving off.
“It’s a deterrent,” she said. “If you honk your horn, then the bear reacts to that and will likely move away from the vehicle. And it teaches the bear that they’re not going to get anything.”
Warthin said they’ve had three instances over the past month of people giving food to bears. There’s also been a couple of tramplings by elk and a California woman got gored by a bison.
Last month was Yellowstone’s busiest May on record. The park is struggling with ways to control the millions of people visiting there every year.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.