Illinois woman on her way to jail for photographing grizzly bears in Yellowstone

Samantha Dehring was caught on a leash within 100 meters of the bears.

After a video of her trying to photograph grizzly bears went viral, a woman from Illinois has been sentenced to four days in prison and banned from Yellowstone National Park for one year.

Samantha Dehring, 25, of Carol Stream, Illinois, was charged Oct. 6 with disturbing wildlife on Roaring Mountain in the park on May 10 while trying to get a close-up of a grizzly bear and her cubs. Dehring is due to spend four days in custody, one year on unsupervised probation and faces up to $ 2,040 in fines and fees.

In a statement Thursday, Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray said on behalf of the District of Wyoming: “It’s completely foolish to approach a lake grizzly with cubs. Here’s pure luck, why Dehring is a criminal accused and not a dilapidated tourist.”

Dehring appeared before a judge in Mammoth Hot Spring, Wyoming, on Wednesday, more than a month after she was due to arrive. She was also charged with another count of feeding, touching, teasing, intimidating or intentionally disturbing wildlife, which was rejected.

Under National Park Service rules: “intentionally staying close to or approaching wildlife” is prohibited.

“The park is not a zoo where animals can be seen within a secure enclosure,” Murray said.

This news comes less than a month after Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state’s intention to ask the federal government to lift its protection against grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area.

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