bear touch

A cinnamon black bear touches a vehicle at Tower-Roosevelt in Yellowstone National Park on Saturday.

Yellowstone National Park is calling on visitors to knock it off.

Some park visitors are being too lenient on bears who get close to stopped cars and in some cases are touching cars.

Instead of giggling and Instagramming, the park wants visitors to shoo the bears away.

“If a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior,” the park said in a news release Tuesday. “Bears that grow accustomed to people and view humans as a food source can become aggressive and have to be killed.”

The park said a black bear put its paws on vehicles in the Tower-Roosevelt area on Saturday.

In May of 2018, 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, according to the park.

The park warns visitors with a variety of specific tactics with its “Bear Safety” resources online.

The overwhelming majority of bear encounters do not involve conflict, the park said. There is an average of one bear attack per year in Yellowstone. In separate incidents in 2011 and 2015, three people were killed by bears inside the park. More people have died by drowning or suffering thermal burns from hot springs than aggressive bears.

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