‘Please slow down for them’

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A short but sweet video on TikTok has emphasized why it is so important not to drive over the speed limit when traveling through Yellowstone National Park.

Wildlife photographer Julia (@julia.littlelightning) posted a nine-second clip of bears either walking alongside roads — some doing so with cubs — or trotting down the middle of the asphalt.

@julia.littlelightning bears can be on the roads anywhere in Yellowstone, along with bison, elk, and other wildlife so please slow down for them 🐻 never approach bears and remain at least 100 yards or inside your car at all times #wildlifephotography #wildlifevideos #wildlifeconservation #bears #grizzlybear #yellowstonenationalpark #nationalparks #outdoorsygals #bearaware #wyoming #wyominglife #explore #nature #naturephotography #bebearaware #grizzlybears #nationalparkgeek #naturephotography #conservation #publicland #grizzlies ♬ Out getting ribs – Feelingblew

“Bears can be on the roads anywhere in Yellowstone, along with bison, elk, and other wildlife so please slow down for them,” Julia captioned the post, which intended to deliver advice for visitors to the national park, rather than highlight any wrongdoing by anyone.

Indeed, it’s a stark reminder of why respecting the park’s rules is so important. Speeding in this area of natural beauty can have dire consequences for the animals that inhabit it. 

In fact, one of the bears featured in the video was limping, and Julia thinks she knows the reason why.

“She unfortunately was most likely hit by a car,” she said. “She was still getting around fine and it’ll likely heal up while she’s hibernating!”

“People need to realize when [they’re] driving in a wooded area filled with wildlife (like Yellowstone) there’s gonna be animals on the road!” another user added. “Drive aware!”

According to Yellowstone National Park’s website, the speed limit is strictly 45 miles per hour unless otherwise stated. The park also encourages motorists to be patient, as not only can there be traffic because of the sheer number of visitors and winding roads, but vehicles are likely to be stopped by crossing animals.

Otherwise, Yellowstone asks visitors to remain 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears at all times, and if one approaches a car, you should remain in the vehicle and honk your horn to discourage the behavior. 

While it’s a treat to be able to see these creatures in their natural habitat, respect is key to ensuring their survival and the safety of visitors. 

Yellowstone asks visitors to not pursue a bear to take pictures, and aside from keeping tourists safe, there is another important reason to keep your distance.

If bears become agitated and approach humans, it’s likely they will be euthanized because their aggression will be deemed a threat to visitors. 

One visitor who got too close to a bear and its cubs received a four-day jail sentence and fines of over $2,000. Luckily they — and the bear — avoided a fate worse than that.

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