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Bear cubs in Yosemite - photo Gina Clugston

Bear Incidents Drop In Yosemite, Vehicles Still A Big Threat

YOSEMITE — Over the past 20 years, Yosemite National Park officials have achieved notable results in their work to protect bears by reducing the number of incidents between bears and humans.

Compared to statistics at this point in 2017 — the lowest year on record — bear incidents in 2018 are down by 50 percent and damage amounts (in dollars) are down by 64 percent.

Compared to 1998, when incidents in the park peaked, bear incidents and damages in 2018 are down by 99 percent.

Bear activity summary

Bears have been spending a lot of time eating acorns, one of their main food sources in the fall. Bears have been observed high up in oak trees eating acorns for hours at a time. To reduce bears and other wildlife from becoming habituated to human presence, be sure to give all animals space while observing them. If you see a bear foraging naturally, please be respectful and remember to stay at least 150 feet away.

A bear broke into a vehicle parked at the Water Tank which had food trash and other smelly attractants present in the cab. This is the first vehicle break-in in Yosemite Valley since 2015. Please keep your vehicles free of food, drinks, and attractants! Bears can open car doors, so locking your doors may help prevent a bear from getting in.

Red bear, dead bear

So far this year, 13 bears have been hit by vehicles along park roads. Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals on roads.

Fascinating bear fact

You can determine a bear’s age by counting the number of tooth rings, just like the rings on a tree. Similarly, the width of the rings correspond to general health with thin rings indicating poor health and thick rings indicating good nutrition or health.

2018 Total Bear Incidents: 17
2018 Total Property Damage: $1,780

Please report bear incidents and sightings: Call the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322 or e-mail here.

For more information about Yosemite’s Bears, please visit: Keep Bears Wild.

Other Wildlife Sightings: Mountain lions have been reported across Yosemite National Park. For more information on mountain lions in Yosemite National Park, please visit the National Park Service website.

— C. Lee-Roney, NPS

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