The video was posted by the TikTok user Fanu, and it has since amassed more than 5 million views.
The caption on the video claims it was taken near the Squaw Valley ski resort near Lake Tahoe.
In the video, the bear casually strolls into the 7-Eleven, even triggering the store's hand sanitiser machine, which narrowly misses distributing a glob onto the bear's head.
During the bear's visit, the door remains propped open by the creature's body as it attempts to access a nearby freezer. The bear begins leaning over the freezer but loses interest, all the while standing on two legs while propped near the door. The bear looks around the store, and a tag can be seen hanging from its right ear.
Off camera, a woman can be heard screaming and shouting at the bear, yelling at it to “get out”.
While screaming at a bear may seem like an impotent defense mechanism, it is actually one of the recommended ways of dealing with the animals. According to Squaw Valley's official safety recommendations, they suggest making noise by “clapping, whistling or singing to scare away bears that might be close by”.
“Your bad singing voice is a great deterrent even if your partner hates it. If you do see a bear, and it does not see you, back away slowly and don't run even if you want to. Never turn your back to the bear and don't make eye contact. Speak in a loud, calm voice giving the bear time to realise you're there and time for it to move on. If a bear does approach you, make yourself look big by lifting and waving your arms and yelling at the bear," the page says.
Eventually, the bear leaves the store and begins poking around the store's trash cans. Employees then try to scare off the bear by throwing objects to drive it off.
Bears are attracted to food, which leads them to sometimes dig around in garbage cans, tear down bird feeders, knock over grills and – in this case – enter buildings. Campers in bear-dense areas are recommended to hang up their food or store it at least 100 feet away from their camp sites. Many camps sites in bear country provide lockers near the parking area specifically for storing food to avoid unwanted bear encounters.
Bears that are known to frequent areas where humans live or visit camp sites are occasionally tagged by park rangers or wildlife officials to keep track of them. The yellow tag on the 7-Eleven bear's ear may indicate that is has previously wandered into populated areas in the past.
Liza Lehrer, chairwoman of the Urban Wildlife Working Group and assistant director of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago, told Pew that animals like bears and deer are becoming more accustom to living near urban areas and, as a result, are becoming more comfortable with venturing into those populated areas.
“We’re seeing more animals moving to the urban core,” she said. “It provides people this really unique experience to see wildlife in a city. You don’t really have to leave the city to have those experiences with nature.”
Even still, the video of the bear entering a 7-Eleven is novel, garnering massive popularity on TikTok and even prompting a response from 7-Eleven's official TikTok account on the video.
"He wants a blue raspBEARy slushie," the social media account commented.
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