When this woman waves at a bear she never expected it to do this

Going to the zoo

A trip to the zoo is a great way to put a smile on your kid’s face. These places allow you to see animals that you probably won’t find roaming around in the wild where you live. Creatures from all over the world are brought to these places for you to see, and all that time spent around humans impacts the way they behave. Take how this bear responded to a waving woman, for example. If you thought wild animals couldn’t learn things from people, then you were wrong.

Controversy in a cage

Zoos make for a great family day out, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a source of controversy over the years. A lot of people oppose the way that the animals are locked away in cages hundreds or thousands of miles away from their natural habitat. In their eyes, a zoo is denying them of their freedom, and that’s something that no living creature should ever have taken away. Although this is an incredibly valid argument, there are some things that they don’t take into consideration.

Taken somewhere safe

Many animals that are kept in zoos haven’t simply been plucked from their habitat and forced into a cage. More often than not, these creatures have been taken from rescue shelters where they resided because their habitat was under threat, or they were in danger. By keeping them in a zoo, they’re actually being given a safer home where they have a chance to thrive. Rescue shelters can only take so many animals at a time, and their services are best used on those in dire need of help.

Raising a family

Even if you still feel uncertain about seeing an animal kept behind bars, it’s easy to find out where they’ve come from and why they’re not in the wild. This ought to give you peace of mind, especially if you can see how they’re coping in captivity. Although the creatures might not have the freedom to explore, they do have everything they need around them, including the opportunity to raise a family. The safety of their children is assured in a zoo, whereas it’s not out in the wild.

A suitable compromise

Fortunately, not all zoos are the same. If you don’t fancy taking your kids to see all those animals trapped in cages, there are other places you can go. Reminiscent of the African safaris, there are farms around America where these creatures are allowed to roam freely. This might sound intimidating to visit, especially given some of the ferocious animals that live there, but it’s an excellent opportunity to experience these creatures in more of a natural habitat. It’ll save you having to travel around the world to see them.

One special place

One place, in particular, that’s worth a visit is Olympic Game Farm. It’s located in Sequim, Washington, and stretches across an expanse big enough for a wide variety of animals. From llamas and elk to snakes and lizards, you’ll have a great time with your camera there, especially given how some of the animals behave. As the farm is constantly popular with curious visitors, the animals have adapted to seeing people around all the time. They’ve gotten so used to it that they’ve started interacting in unusual ways.

Exploring from a distance

A massive benefit to Olympic Game Farm is that you can get up close and personal with dozens of interesting animals without fearing for your life. The farm bills itself as a drive-through wildlife exhibit, allowing you to take a vehicle through the park as you encounter the beauty of nature. The only one in a cage here will be you as you stick to the safety of your car. You’ll realize that’s for the best when you’re driving past the lions and they suddenly take an interest in you.

Meeting the animals

Olympic Game Farm is an incredibly popular attraction, and as one woman found out, there’s a good reason for that. She went to the wildlife exhibit one day to see what the fuss was all about, and she wasn’t disappointed. She slowly drove her car through the farm, marveling at the different animals enjoying themselves in their various habitats. They all seemed very content with their lives, but there was one creature that caught her attention more than any other. That was when she opened the window.

Spotting each other

The animal that caught her eye was a brown bear. Olympic Game Farm is home to two of these creatures most commonly found in Eurasia or North America. Although you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of one, the animals are known to be very friendly at the wildlife exhibit, especially as they’ve grown accustomed to the farm’s frequent visitors. When the woman approached one of them in her car, they weren’t put off by her appearance, considering her to be just like every other tourist.

Waving hello

The bear watched her as she pulled up, and for a moment the two looked at each other. With the window down and the woman’s arm hanging out of the car, she decided to say hello by waving at the animal. It’s something that a lot of people do when they see an animal, but they never really expect much of a response. Waving is a human interaction that is pretty much universally understood, but it’s not something that most animals have ever thought to even try before.

What are you doing?

With that in mind, it’s probably not a surprise that the bear simply stared at her when she first started waving. It looked like it had no idea what she was doing with her hand, but its attention was caught nonetheless. At the same time that she was waving, the woman decided to film the bear to see if it did anything by way of a reaction. Fortunately for her, she was right to pull her camera out. After several seconds of waving, it came up with one incredible response.

Returning the gesture

When the bear realized what the woman was doing, it did it’s best to return the gesture. That’s right, the animal actually sat up and started waving back at the visitor in the car. If the bear had never waved to anyone before, then it certainly got a handle on what to do very quickly. Although its movements were very jerky, there was no doubt that it was responding to the woman with the same gesture that she’d done. It was lucky that she caught the act on her camera.

Learning from experience

What this woman had just seen was something that she’d never expected when she left for Olympic Game Farm that day. A waving bear isn’t exactly something that you hear about all the time. We’re pretty sure that this isn’t something that would be considered normal bear behavior. The animals probably don’t go around waving when they spot each other out in the wild. However, after seeing so many people try and interact with it like this over the years, perhaps it finally learned how to repeat the action.

Picking up behaviors

One reason why the animal might have picked up this behavior so well is if it had been separated from its mother at a young age. All animals look to their parents to learn how to interact with the world around them. If the baby bear didn’t have its mother around to develop habits from, then it might have used humans as a surrogate instead. By watching how they interacted with each other, it could have tried to interpret and respond to their behaviors, thereby learning things like waving.

An understandable reaction

The woman reacted to the bear’s wave in a way that many of us probably would have done too. Blown away by the animal’s human-like response, she couldn’t help but laugh at the incredible sight. Whoever it was that was driving the car joined in too, equally amazed by what they’d just seen on the other side of the window. It would have been sensational if the bear had learned how to laugh too and joined in with the pair, although that might be asking just a little too much.

Becoming a sensation

The people in the car weren’t the only ones who found the bear’s friendly wave something worth marveling at. After the short video they’d filmed was uploaded to YouTube, it became a viral hit. Since it was first posted, it’s amassed nearly 20 million views, with 89,000 people giving it their seal of approval. Many people commented on the animal’s politeness, while others tried to interpret what was going through the bear’s mind. They believed that rather than seeing the humans as friends, it viewed them as food.

Born to be wild

Their interpretation of the bear’s mindset wasn’t entirely unjustified. After all, while we don’t know what the animal was actually thinking at the time, we do have a pretty good understanding of normal bear behavior. While they might look cuddly, these creatures are known for being ferocious. They have the strength and willpower to take down a human easily, and they rarely need a reason to do it. If the woman had encountered the bear in the wild, she might not have been so quick to attract its attention.

Feeling protective

It’s lucky that the bear was by itself and didn’t have any cubs around. As with most species, bears are incredibly protective of their young and will lash out in an instant if they believe that their cubs are in danger. While we’re sure that the animals at Olympic Game Farm are generally a lot friendlier than the rest of their species, they’d probably still act out if they felt they were being threatened in any way. It’s just the way that they’re wired, and humans are exactly the same.

Approaching the car

Given that the bear appeared to be very friendly, it’s a surprise that it didn’t try and approach the woman in the car. It may have been kept behind a fence, but an animal of that size could have easily climbed over that barricade. We’re not sure what the woman would have done if her new friend suddenly started walking towards her. Getting that close to a bear isn’t something you’d normally consider doing, but if the animal doesn’t mean you any harm, is there anything to fear?

Fearless creatures

It’s actually quite common in places like Olympic Game Farm for the animals to approach your car. Some are curious about who you are and what you’re doing, while others want to warn you away. Although a lot of animals are more scared of you than you are of them, there are plenty in these wildlife exhibits that are pretty fearless. There have been numerous incidents in the past of animals going so far as to stick their heads into people’s cars and steal their food. Talk about rude!

Seeing them for yourself

Fortunately, this bear wasn’t interested in anybody’s food. All it cared about was returning a gesture to someone kind enough to say hello. If you were to visit Olympic Game Farm now, there’s every chance that you’d get to see the animal for yourself. Whether or not they’d wave to you is another matter entirely, but at least you’d be able to meet the bear who became an online sensation. How often do you get to say that you crossed paths with a celebrity?