California’s Pope Beach was packed on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop a mother bear and her two cubs from frolicking along its sandy shores.
Beach-goer Pallas Buckley recorded the bears’ antics from afar before submitting it to California News outlet KCRA.
“Look who joined the fun today at Lake Tahoe,” KCRA reporter Edie Lambert posted alongside the video, which has now been viewed more than 11 million times.
Bears are a pretty typical sight in the Sierra Nevadas, and locals John Buis and Abbigale Forsman told KTVN News that they’ve seen these three before.
“[The sow] just kind of moseys down with her cubs and they go for a little swim and play in the lake,” Buis said. “It’s really neat to watch.”
But its not typical to see them on the beach alongside so many people. Generally, mother bears are quite weary of humans, and have been known to attack if they feel their offspring is threatened.
This bear, however, seems blinded by the urge to cool off with her cubs. It helps that beach-goers were smart enough to keep their distance, even when recording the adorable scene. According to reports, the bears played in the water together for about 20 to 30 minutes before heading back to the forest.
“So nice to see that animals and humans can coexist in the same water and everybody remains calm,” one commenter wrote.
But conservation officials think otherwise.
“When bears are daytime active, that kind of sends up a little red flag to us that maybe they are acclimated to human beings and human activity,” Chris Healy, Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesman, told KTVN News.
He speculates that the bears were also at the beach looking for an easy food source, since there’s often garbage left behind.
“That situation is cute and cuddly until it isn’t cute and cuddly anymore,” he said. “All you need is one human, being stupid, getting too close to these bears.”