Brooks Falls in Alaska is one of those places where photographers can see that classic shot: one — or a dozen — big burly brown bears swatting at salmon as the fish try to jump up the falls.
But at least one type of wildlife photography — if you can call it that — isn’t allowed.
Please don’t wade into the river where the wild bears are feeding and take selfies with them. That’s against the rules , the National Park Service reminds visitors in a recent news release.
A bear-watching cam set up along the banks of the Brooks River, just below Brooks Falls, caught a man doing just that on Aug. 9. The man can be seen on the hidden camera — which feeds footage to a livestream on Explore.org — stepping into the river while six brown bears wait near a small cascade for the fish to jump.
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Explore.org’s nature livestreams broadcast to an audience of millions of people, according to Mashable, and reports of the selfie-taking came quickly from viewers who had seen the man while watching the bears feed in their natural habitat, which is supposed to remain undisturbed by humans, the National Park Service said.
After twisting himself to get the right angle for the shot, the man can be seen taking a few steps and getting even closer to the bears for a few more shots, before turning around and leaving. The bears seem uninterested in the man, while one, and then another, take swipes at the meal they actually came for.
“People need to recognize that these are wild brown bears,” Mark Sturm, Katmai National Park superintendent, said in the release. “These visitors are lucky that they escaped the situation without injury. The possible consequences for the bears and themselves could have been disastrous.”
The man in the video was with two others, who could not be seen in the video, the National Park Service release said. Two of the three were Alaska residents, according to the release, and the other was a tourist from out of state.
The man pictured in the video, who has not been identified by authorities, will face charges after he used an emergency exit from the bear-viewing platform to get onto the riverbank, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Those charges could include reckless endangerment, harassing wildlife and entering a closed area, KTVA reported.
“I also know that alcohol is likely involved,” National Park Service spokesman Peter Christian said, according to the station. “This is a ‘Here, hold my beer’ moment.”