ASPEN, Colo. - Video of a mother bear and her two cubs climbing down a tree in the middle of Aspen, Colorado went viral earlier this week, prompting police to issue a warning about trying to photograph the wild animals.
When the bears came down from the tree on the Hyman Avenue mall, police said there was a "fairly large crowd of photo-takers and those that insisted on trying to get close enough to take selfies."
Police said one woman walked up to the bears -- while carrying her child -- to get a selfie.
Police said when the bear and her cubs tried to make a run for it, they were followed by a group of people trying to get video.
This led to the cubs getting separated from their mother, police said.
"The mother bear returned to the mall, very agitated and making loud crying sounds," police stated. "People were still walking right up to her, even when it was clear she was agitated and growling as people got close."
Police said the bear could have easily turned and attacked one of the onlookers -- and then they would have been forced to euthanize the bear.
"What may seem like an opportunity for a good selfie, could cost a bear its life," police stated.
The mother bear and her cubs found each other again after being separated. Police also issued a reminder that it is illegal to harass any wildlife.
"Harass means to unlawfully endanger, worry, impede, annoy, pursue, disturb, molest, rally, concentrate, harry, chase, drive, herd, or torment wildlife," police said.
Police took a lighter tone on Facebook, comparing the bears to celebrities being stalked by paparazzi.
"Lately, the Aspen Bears have felt like Mariah Carey in Aspen on New Year’s Eve. The paparazzi have been following their every move around town, trying to get close and snap selfies," police said.
"As their managing agents, we would request that if you bump into one of our furry celebrities, you politely take a peek and keep on moving," police said.
"Posting photos of the Aspen Bears to your social media account only draws larger crowds, which can agitate bears and create a dangerous situation."
Police said the bears have gone on a selfie strike and they support it.