TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A photographer at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park earlier this week captured a number of pictures showing visitors getting very close to bears in the park.
Jackie Gilbert shared the photos on Facebook, saying she was far away, zooming in with her camera to photograph the bears, but people were getting in her way. One of the pictures shows what appears to be a teenage girl taking a selfie with the bears.
Gilbert visited the park on Sunday and Monday, and she said a park ranger didn't show up either time.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park wants visitors to be aware that bears are wild animals, and can be dangerous or unpredictable. It's illegal to come within 50 yards of bears in the park, and violations can result in fines and arrest. Officials recommend visitors use telephoto lenses like Gilbert did, binoculars or a spotting scope.
If you come across the bear in the wild, visit the GSMNP's website to find out how to stay safe.