A “foolish” Illinois tourist who bucked Yellowstone National Park rules and approached a massive mama grizzly bear to snap a photo will spend four days in jail.
Samantha R. Dehring, 25, of Carol Springs, was lucky to leave Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone without serious injury during the frightening May 10 encounter with the large wild animal, who was protecting her three cubs.
In addition to four days in federal custody, Dehring — who pleaded guilty Wednesday to willfully remaining, approaching, and photographing wildlife within 100 yards — was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and make a $1,000 donation to a Yellowstone wildlife protection fund.
She was also banned from the national park for one year.
Other visitors at the park — where regulations require they stay at least 100 away yards from wolves and bears — slowly backed off upon spotting the grizzly, but Dehring lingered behind to snag photos.
The protective mama bear then briefly charged at the tourist, before turning back to her babies.
Video of the terrifying experience posted on Instagram had been viewed more than 121,000 times as of Friday.
“What an idiot,” one reply read.
Park officials announced charges against Dehring in July after tracking her down via social media.
She reportedly posted several photos of the bears to her Facebook account — writing on one image that she was “absolutely floored” by Yellowstone’s natural wonders.
“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are, indeed, wild,” Acting US Attorney Bob Murray said in a statement Thursday.
“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. Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish. Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”
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