Photographer Who Was Fine Over Bear Photo Spent $20K

In an unusual $20,000 court struggle, a wildlife photographer was found guilty of speeding when he slowed down to tend to an injured grizzly bear.

The U.S. District Court of Wyoming convicted renowned wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen guilty of a small traffic infraction in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The $150 traffic penalty was contested by Mangelsen, a resident of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who thinks that he has already spent more than $20,000 in the process.

Grand Teton National Park authorities have accused 78-year-old photographer Mark Mangelson of impeding traffic.

As many as four times that day, Mangelson reportedly drove slowly around Grizzly610, a supposedly injured grizzly bear. He temporarily halted traffic to examine the obviously healthy cub, who supposedly recovered fast and was able to stand on her own two feet.

Some took to news outlets reporting the incident to question Mangelson’s decision not to notify a park ranger.

The prosecution presented sufficient evidence to support the National Park Service’s decision to find Mangelson guilty of driving at a speed that impeded traffic flow. Video evidence and witness statements led Judge Mark Carman to conclude that Mangelson visited the scene of what may have been a car crash involving Grizzly 610.

Two rangers who were near the area at the time testified that the photographer held up other cars as he slowed down to five miles per hour to get close to Grizzly 610 to take photographs.

Sentencing for Mangelsen was set for June 27. He plans to appeal after sentencing has taken place. Mangelsen was found guilty of driving a vehicle so slowly that it impeded the regular flow of traffic after the National Park Service fulfilled its burden of evidence.  The judge noted that, although he did block traffic, the photographer’s reasoning was in protecting the bears.