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Yosemite Bear Facts August 7-20

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avatar Yosemite Bear Facts August 7-20
August 25, 2016 10:30AM
2016 Total Bear Incidents: 31 (with 7 additional garbage incidents)
2016 Total Property Damage: $4,734 Compared to 2015 (the lowest year on record for bear incidents), bear incidents in 2016 are down by 54% and damages are up by 12%. Compared to 1998 (when incidents in the park peaked), bear incidents in 2016 are down by 97%, and damages are down by 99%.

Bear Activity Summary: Three bear incidents occurred in Yosemite in the last two weeks, all were in wilderness areas. Two of these incidents happened at Harden Lake after toiletries and scented items were left inside a tent and a pack at a backcountry campsite. A bear cannot tell the difference between something that smells good, but tastes bad until it’s been bitten into. For that reason, protect your gear by removing anything that has a scent (including sealed food, food garbage, and toiletries) from your pack, tent, or campsite and store it in a latched bear proof container. Additionally another incident recently occurred in the LYV area after visitors stashed their packs to continue up the Half Dome Trail. The bear tore into packs and damaged gear. It is impossible to know what a bear might investigate out of curiosity. Keep all food and belongings within arm’s reach while hiking.

Please report bear incidents and sightings: Call the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322 or email yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov.

Red Bear, Dead Bear: So far this year, eighteen bears have been hit by vehicles in Yosemite. Six of these bears were killed on impact. Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals in roadways.

Fascinating Bear Fact: Black bears have a “mean curiosity index” of 59, beating out weasels, otters, dogs, raccoons, and cats.

Other Wildlife Sightings: A mountain lion was reported in Half Dome Village in Yosemite Valley on August 8th, and another lion was reported on the Panorama Trail the following day.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Facts August 7-20
August 27, 2016 09:08AM
Always look forward to these. Thanks for the update.
Re: Yosemite Bear Facts August 7-20
August 29, 2016 09:09AM
Quote
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Additionally another incident recently occurred in the LYV area after visitors stashed their packs to continue up the Half Dome Trail. The bear tore into packs and damaged gear. It is impossible to know what a bear might investigate out of curiosity. Keep all food and belongings within arm’s reach while hiking.
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I hadn't thought of this - and the implication that it makes summit side-excursions while backpacking logistically challenging. I can understand that with a bear's curiosity and intelligence, if it once smelled something appetizing in a backpack and got into it, it may then associate backpacks with food even without a food scent (like empty coolers in view inside a car prompting a break-in). So a backpack left at a summit approach would be at-risk. I imagine that this could also apply to tents: if a bear ever smelled and found food inside an unattended tent, it may make that same association and "investigate" tents in the future, with or without a scent.

I just returned from a trip where I enjoyed a summit side-excursion. I transferred all scented items from my pack into a Bearikade and left the pack and canister at the beginning of the climb, about 100 feet apart in case the canister became an item of interest because of scent. I was fortunate that no damage occurred to either during my absence.

Short of lugging a full pack up to a summit, or having an assigned "gear attendant" stay behind, are there any other ideas on how to deal with this? From my experience and reading it appears this type of bear incident is not a very common occurrence (with the exception of LYV where the bear population seems to be consistently misbehaving (from a human perspective)) and I'll not obsess over it. However, I'm wondering what methods others may have employed.

Bottom line: always protect your food/scented items; the impact of not doing so are long-lasting, extensive, perhaps unexpected and ultimately lead to one less native in the park.
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