This was the best course of action for this bear.
With summer finally here, many people are considering a trip to Yellowstone National Park to see the geologic wonders and to encounter wildlife that you may not see anywhere else in North America. One thing that many people forget is that the animals living there are not in a zoo. They are extremely wild and may defend themselves against humans if they feel threatened.
This viral video out of Yellowstone represents a less than ideal scenario inside the park's boundaries. A large grizzly bear is hanging out near the roadway, drawing a great deal of tourist attention. As often happens in these scenarios, a park ranger is on the scene directing traffic and keeping people a safe distance from the animal.
With one tourist rolling their camera phone, the grizzly suddenly charges out of the tree line, apparently going after the ranger. The grizzly stops short of a full attack, but it is enough to warrant a response from the ranger. He pulls out a shotgun and hits the bruin with a rubber bullet to get the animal to flee the scene.
The Idaho State Journal reported a few additional details on this incident after it happened. The ranger also deployed bean bag rounds. The other bangs you are hearing at the end of the video are cracker shells designed to make noise and frighten the animal away. According to the Journal, there were two bears in the area, a male, and a female. The bears wanted to cross the road but were blocked by excess traffic and people crowding in too close to the animals.
This is a good time to remind everyone that Yellowstone officials recommend everyone stay at least 100 yards away from large predators like bears and wolves. It was unfortunate the ranger had to take these actions, but at the end of the day, it is in the best interest of both animals and people.
Hazing the bears like this causes them to form a negative association with humans, which lessens the chances they will attack a person in the future.