Is getting close to wildlife for a great picture worth it?
Officials from Fish Wildlife and Parks say no.
This week FWP officials are reminding people to leave wildlife alone after two bear cubs were separated from their mother because people were taking photos of the cubs.
Bob Gibson, FWP Information and Education, says this was a really sad story.
"The mom in the twin back bear cubs have been hanging out on the outskirts of Harlowton in the areas around there not causing any problems,” said Gibson. “A van of people stopped to take pictures of them and at least one carload of people got out and ran towards the bears to take pictures of them. They ended up chasing them unto a prairie and separated the family. “
The cubs ran east across the highway while the mother ran west to avoid the people.
After the first sighting, the Wheatland County sheriff's office Facebook page urged residents to leave the wildlife alone especially the babies.
When the cubs and their mother were then seen back in town looking for each other, the mother couldn't get to the cubs because too many people were trying to take pictures causing the mother to desert the cubs.
When FWP officials could not locate the mother they had to take action.
“Here are these two cubs that are in town, they're lost and they don't have a mother,” said Gibson. “So the warden and the biologist ended up catching them putting him in a barrel trap. They ended up holding onto them for a day in case mom came back around so they can reunite them, but they never could find mom again. So they took him over to the rehabilitation center at Montana Wild.
Gibson said the cubs will be fed and cared for through the winter and most likely released next spring in south-central Montana where the bears will hopefully thrive.
FWP officials say no photo is worth this type of outcome.
"This is a real tragedy for those cubs and for the mother,” said Gibson. “Obviously it's a direct effect of interference by people. If those bears would have been left alone they would've gone back into the woods and they would've been fine. Unfortunately, people interfered with them at least 2 to 3 instances. So the lesson here is that this is Montana we have a wildlife give them room let them be wildlife."
Gibson says if you find yourself in this situation you should always stay more than 100 feet away from the bears or any wildlife. If they seem agitated, scared or they notice you, then you are too close for your safety and for the wildlife’s.