Yellowstone Rangers Launch Investigation Into Video of Woman Approaching Grizzly Bears

Earlier this month, a woman was filmed standing dangerously close to a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs, prompting Yellowstone National Park rangers to open an investigation. Now, the rangers are asking for the public's help in identifying the woman.

"If you were around Roaring Mountain on May 10, 2021, at 4:45 PM, or you have information that could help, please contact NPS Investigative Services Branch," they wrote in a Facebook post at 5:01 p.m. on May 25, referring to the landmark that served as the site of the incident. In addition, they indicated, would-be tipsters can remain anonymous.

"You don't have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know," they wrote.

The woman is described as "white, mid 30's, brown hair, and wearing black clothing." One comment thread states that she was also originally described as "heavyset." If so, that adjective appears to have since been edited out. She wears no identifying items or accessories and is not named in the footage, two factors that complicate the search.

Based on the popularity of the post, however, the park appears to have many willing to help. The appeal has been shared 9,500 times and liked 19,000 times. Many of the thousands of commenters thought that the woman's actions were egregious enough that they warranted a lifetime ban from the park or, at the very least, a hefty fine. They pointed out that by ignoring park guidelines, which, per ABC 15, state that tourists must keep a minimum of 100 yards between themselves and bears and wolves at all times, she put all three animals in danger, not to mention herself.

"The sad thing about this is the bear dies if something happens. A lot of humans have no respect for wildlife. It's ridiculous," one commenter wrote.

"I guess this Darwin Award recipient thinks she's at a petting zoo. She's lucky to be alive and lucky she didn't cause the death of this mother and her cubs," another fumed.

"It's always some ignorant person! But they would have killed the bear and her cubs, if the lady was attacked... Leave nature alone or own the consequences...," another weighed in.

"Get her! Because if that momma had attacked her, it would have been a death sentence for her and her cubs," a fourth reasoned.

Bears that act aggressively toward or attack humans are often euthanized. Thankfully, officials do not often have cause to resort to such extreme measures. Only 44 people have been attacked by bears in Yellowstone since 1979 and only eight have been killed by bears in the park's 142-year history, according to the park website.

The post did not reveal the specific charges the woman could face, if any.

Two grizzly bears play in a pool.
Two grizzly bears play in a pool in a La Fleche, France zoo. On May 10, a mother grizzly was filmed charging a woman who had neared her and her cubs. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images