Honey, Is That a Bear?

Wait...better check your smartphone first
Staff Writer
National Park Service

Sometimes the bear finds you: encounters in pre-21st Century Yellowstone

What’s the best measure of a successful trip to Yellowstone National Park?  For some people, its the number of bears (and moose and deer and bald eagles) that they see.  But high-volume bear spotting isn't quite as easy as it was back in the day, when park rangers were OK with miles-long, marshmellow-fueled bear jams along the main road. Today there's Where’s A Bear, a new 99-cent Android app, to help visitors run up the score.

The app, which allows users to report sightings of the most sought-after wildlife, including bears, moose, elk, wolves, bald eagles, deer and more, essentially gives you a constantly-updated, real-time animal map. You can also view trends of where most animal sightings have occured, check a countdown to Old Faithful's next eruption, and find bathrooms, souvenir shops and more.

According to the developers, “[T]he creators of Where’s A Bear have learned that visitors can enjoy nature that much more by eliminating some of the guesswork. With Where’s A Bear, your Yellowstone adventure is guaranteed to be better than you’d hoped it would be!”

Not everyone is so excited. Park officials and lovers have voiced concern about a new wave of traffic jams caused by gawking motorists, and crowds of visitors habituating animals to humans. 

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