A hungry black bear approached a group of visitors, scaled their table, and ate their food at Mexico’s Chipinque Ecological Park in the state of Nuevo León.
The video captures the animal chowing down on tacos and enchiladas within inches from several visitors who are frozen in place.
The bear once drew close enough to a mother shielding a child’s face. The child has placed his head on his mother’s chest and looks frightened.
After eating, the bear moves across the picnic table before jumping down.
Another bear in Mexico made headlines in 2020
The startling video was posted online and went viral, amassing over ten million views on the social media platform TikTok.
The park’s website warns visitors that encounters with black bears have increased in the Monterrey metropolitan area and have been seen prowling in parks, neighborhoods, and streets near the mountains, increasing the risk to people and bears.
The park has also provided a list of recommendations online about what to do if a person encounters one of the animals. Visitors are advised to “never try to photograph a bear up close.”
In 2020, another video from the park went viral when a black bear was seen approaching a visitor and sniffing her hair. The bear was caught and castrated.
Black bears and interaction with humans
Black bears are predominantly solitary animals with a keen sense of smell and hearing.
Normally, they choose to avoid confrontations and will retreat if they perceive a threat. They are generally docile unless disturbed or threatened, particularly when they feel their cubs are in danger.
Although black bears may do harm, it’s vital to remember that most interactions with them don’t end in hostility or injury to people, experts say. Black bears are frequently seen in close proximity to populated areas since they are in search of food. They usually recede when they become aware of the presence of people.
Lynn Rogers, who has been working closely with wild bears for over fifty years, says that he “now interprets aggressive displays by black bears in terms of their fear rather than mine. Their most common aggressive displays are merely rituals they perform when they are nervous.
“Black bears have killed 61 people across North America since 1900. This no longer worries me. My chances of being killed by a domestic dog, bees, or lightning are vastly greater. My chances of being murdered are 60,000 times greater. One of the safest places a person can be is in the woods,” he concludes.
According to studies, compared to other animal interactions, black bear assaults on people are rather rare. Fatal black bear assaults are extremely uncommon; the majority of times, only minor injuries are sustained.
These figures indicate that the idea that black bears are particularly hazardous could be overexaggerated.