For getting dangerously close to a grizzly bear family while visiting Yellowstone National Area in May, a woman was sentenced to four days in jail, a slew of penalties, and a year’s ban from the park. The Acting US Attorney for the District of Wyoming spoke plainly while discussing the issue, stating that the woman should be considered lucky that she ended up as a criminal defendant rather than a “mauled tourist.”
The woman is shooting a grizzly bear and its three cubs on her smartphone in a video (below) that went viral earlier this year. Even after the adult bear charges the woman in a “bluff charge”, (when a bear charges but pauses before making contact), she seems unfazed and continues to video before walking away.
Samantha Dehring, 25, of Illinois, pled guilty to wilfully remaining, approaching, and photographing wildlife within 100 yards, according to the National Park Service. The other count was discarded because it involved feeding, stroking, taunting, frightening, or purposefully disturbing wildlife. Dehring was sentenced to a four-day jail sentence, a total of $2,040 in fines, and a year’s ban from the park when he appeared in court on Wednesday. “It’s completely foolish to approach a sow grizzly with cubs. Dehring is a criminal defendant in this case, not a mauled tourist, said to Bob Murray, Acting US Attorney for the District of Wyoming.
Visitors visiting Yellowstone National Park are required to stay 23 meters (75 feet) away from all large animals, including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes, and at least 91 meters (300 feet) away from bears and wolves, according to park regulations. Willfully remaining near or approaching animals within any, the distance that disturbs or displaces the animal is likewise unlawful. “If you force an animal to move, you’re too close,” the National Park Service says.
“The wildlife at Yellowstone National Park is very wild,” Murray added. The park is not a zoo where animals can see in a caged enclosure for safety reasons. They are free to roam in their native habitat and will react appropriately if threatened.”