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Bear Aware: Yosemite Designates Wildlife ‘Protection’ Zones

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — In preparation for a busy Labor Day weekend — and to boost protection for bears and other park wildlife — Yosemite National Park has designated several new ‘Wildlife Protection Zones.’

The zones are located on stretches of roadway throughout the park where bears and other animals have previously been struck by vehicles.

Visitors driving in the park over Labor Day weekend will see new signs advising motorists they are in a “Wildlife Protection Zone.”

The signs also warn that speed limits will be strictly enforced.

Multiple Wild Life Protection Zones have been designated in Yosemite Valley and along sections of Big Oak Flat Road, El Portal Road, Wawona Road and Tioga Road.

Park officials said Thursday the zones “will remain in effect until further notice.”

So far in 2019, 11 bears have been struck by vehicles in the park.

Park officials say more than 400 bears have been hit since 1995.

It’s not just bears that face the danger.

Park officials say owls, Pacific fishers, butterflies, rare amphibians like red-legged frogs and salamanders; and mammals like deer, foxes, and mountain lions are also often hit and killed on Yosemite’s roadways.

“One of the best ways to help protect wildlife in Yosemite National Park is to slow down and follow the posted speed limits within the park,” stated Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds.

“These new Wildlife Protection Zones have been designated to help reduce the number of animals injured or killed in the park by automobiles,” Reynolds added. “We thank park visitors for helping us protect Yosemite’s bears and other wildlife.”

How can park visitors help protect wildlife while driving in and around Yosemite National Park?

Here’s some advice from park officials:

“Please stay alert, especially while driving during dawn and dusk, when animals are more active. Scan roadsides for wildlife in front of your car and obey posted speed limit signs, including areas with reduced speeds.

“These small actions can help make a big difference — and help prevent wildlife-automobile collisions.”

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