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Yosemite Bear Facts - August 21, 2021

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avatar Yosemite Bear Facts - August 21, 2021
August 26, 2021 11:29AM
2021 Total Bear Incidents: 39
2021 Total Property Damage: $2,290

Bear Incident Comparisons (year to date—previous years):
Last year: +129.4%
Most Incidents (1998): -96.51%
Fewest Incidents (2019) : +116.7%

Bear Activity Summary: In the last month, bear incidents have risen significantly in frequency and severity. Several residences in both Yosemite West (just outside the park) and Wawona were broken into by bears. In Yosemite Valley, there were major incidents involving a sow and cubs getting large food rewards after entering buildings at Curry Village and The Ahwahnee. Multiple bears this month have been targeting picnic areas and beaches, often showing up only to have people abandon their food, resulting in these bears learning that they can continue to get food this way. Videos on social media has shown this bear behavior, as well as visitor behavior as alarming—taking pictures and videos from mere feet away from the bear while allowing it to eat their lunch, reinforcing the behavior in these bears and ultimately putting these bears lives in danger.

It is critically important that you - whether you’re a Yosemite visitor, employee, or resident - respect the rules that protect wildlife. Giving wildlife space is critical, even if an animal seems to be comfortable near you. A bear that is allowing people to get close is no longer displaying natural behaviors—and the more people that take advantage of this reduced fear for their own enjoyment, photo opportunities, or just the thrill of being close to a wild animal, the less fearful a bear will become. Your actions (feeding or getting close to wildlife) may seem minimal, but even these small actions can ultimately get a bear killed.

Whether you live in the park or are visiting, it is absolutely crucial right now to secure your homes, work buildings, hotel rooms, etc. in all areas of the park. Do not leave windows open in unoccupied buildings. Do not leave food unattended at a picnic or beach. If a bear approaches you, yell as loudly and aggressively as possible to scare it away as soon as you see it. Do not try to get a good photo first. As drought conditions persist and resources continue to dry out, bears are desperately seeking food, and a human-food reward during this time will drastically change that bear’s behavior for the rest of its life.

Report bear incidents and sightings: Call the Save-A-Bear Hotline at +1 209 372-0322 or e-mail yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov. For more information, visit https://KeepBearsWild.org

Red Bear, Dead Bear: Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals in roadways. At least 15 bears have been hit by vehicles this year in Yosemite.
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