Photo of the Day – Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

It’s not often you come face to face with a Grizzly Bear, one of nature’s most awesome creatures, but Flickr user JasonBechtel was lucky enough do just that in Yellowstone National Park. Jason’s photo is the perfect moment of nature photography – the streams of water dripping down the bear’s mane and the huge floppy fish in its mouth suggest a shot that was a combination of great timing, skill and likely lots of waiting around! Nice work.

Have any great nature shots from your own travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Hiker killed by grizzly bear in Yellowstone

A 57-year old man out for a hike along a popular trail in Yellowstone National Park was attacked, and killed by a grizzly bear on Wednesday. It was the first fatal bear attack within the park in 25 years.

The man, who has yet to be named, and his wife set out to hike the Wapiti Lake Trail, located inside Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. They reportedly had only walked a mile and half when they came upon a female grizzly bear with her cubs. The bear reacted to the surprise encounter by attacking the couple, fatally injuring the husband, while his wife looked on. Other hikers, hearing her cries for help, rushed to the scene and dialed 911, but the man passed away before park rangers could reach his location.

Summer is a very busy time in Yellowstone, and the trails are often crowded with hikers. Despite that, rangers say that there were no reported bears sightings in the area prior to the attack. As a precaution however, they’ve closed several campsites and hiking trails close to where the encounter took place, and have posted warning signs as well. A search was also underway to locate the bear, and if found, she and the cubs would most likely be relocated to a more remote location. Because the attack was in defense of her young, rangers say that the bear would not be put down. So far, the search has turned up no sign of the bears.

Despite the fact that both black bear and grizzly bear call Yellowstone home, there has not been a fatal encounter with those creatures in the park since 1986. However, last year a bear wandered into a campsite not far from the park and killed a camper in his tent. It was a grim reminder of how dangerous these animals can be when encountered in the wild.

If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone, or some other backcountry destination this year, officials from the park offered up some helpful hints to keep you safe. They recommend traveling in groups of three or more and making plenty of noise while walking. That will give animals advanced warning of your approach and time to get out of your way, making it a safer environment for you and them.

It is also highly advisable that hikers carry bear spray, which is a bit like Mace for animals. Bear spray can be purchased in most outdoor gear stores in states inhabited by the creatures, although you’ll wan to buy it once you’ve reached your destination. The TSA frowns on a giant can of extra-powerful pepper spray in your carry-on. The spray is a good investment for anyone planning a wilderness hike however.

Plan a luxury safari in the US with American Safari Cruises

When most people think of a “safari” they think of hiking through the bush of South Africa or trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica in search of exotic animals native to the region.

But here in the US we have plenty of our own wild animals to see and going “on safari” here doesn’t have to mean doing one of those drive-though “wild animal” parks where non-native animals like zebras and giraffes flock to your car for the food they know you’re going to throw at them through your open window.

For a more upscale safari trip in the United States, check out American Safari Cruises, which offers small-group ultra-luxury all-inclusive sailings around North America. There’s aren’t your typical mega-cruises. The vessels are yatchs and are limited to 12, 22 or 36 guests. All meals, airport transfers, alcoholic drinks and shores excursions are included in the price. And according to the company’s website, they institute green and sustainable practices, and give back to the communities they visit on each safari.

Some of the safaris offered include spotting whales, black bears, grizzly bears, bald eagles, mountain goats and wolves in Alaska, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea turtles and exotic fish in Hawaii, and looking for whales, sea lions, seals, black bears and deer in the Pacific Northwest.

Cruises range from 7 to 14 nights and rates start at about $5000 per person.