Bear behavior

A cinnamon-colored black bear leans against a pickup truck near Tower on May 11. Yellowstone officials are encouraging tourists to discourage such bear behavior by honking and driving away.

Yellowstone National Park officials are encouraging tourists to help scare bears by honking if one comes near their car.

The plea comes after a a black bear in the Tower-Roosevelt area put its paws on vehicles on Saturday, May 11.

Spring is an active time for bears coming out of a long period of fasting during hibernation, so they are actively looking for food. Park officials want to ensure that doesn't include viewing humans as a source of food.

Bears that grow accustomed to people and view humans as a food source can become aggressive and have to be killed.

The park's advice is simple: If a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage such behavior.

Last May a black bear previously fed by people in the Mammoth Hot Springs area approached a vehicle, put its paws on a door and looked into the vehicle’s windows. Also last May a grizzly bear near Yellowstone Lake went up to a car and played with its antenna.

By helping to scare the bears visitors not only protect themselves but also ensure the bears remain safe by fearing humans.

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