‘Absolutely Foolish’ — Woman Sentenced For Approaching Bear In Yellowstone
An Illinois woman was sentenced to four days behind bars for approaching grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park to take their pictures.
The United States Attorney's Office on Thursday announced that 25-year-old Samantha Dehring was sentenced for willfully remaining, approaching and photographing wildlife within 100 yards. An additional count, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife was dismissed.
In addition to the jail time, Dehring was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and make a $1,000 payment to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund. She's also been banned from Yellowstone for one year.
According to a news release, Dehring was at Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone on May 10 when visitors noticed a sow grizzly bear and her three cubs. As other visitors slowly backed off and got into their vehicles, Dehring remained in the area.
She reportedly continued to take pictures as the sow bluff charged her.
"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are, indeed, wild. The park is not a zoo where animals can be viewed within the safety of a fenced enclosure. They roam freely in their natural habitat and when threatened will react accordingly," Acting US Attorney Bob Murray said. "Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish. Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist."
Under Yellowstone National Park regulations, when an animals is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot or in a developed area, give it space.
Stay 25 yards away from all large animals including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer moose and coyotes.
Additionally, stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.