Yosemite National Park is issuing a heartfelt plea to drivers to play their part in helping black bear cubs survive their crucial first year of life.
The park has taken to its social media channels, sharing heartwarming images of a mother black bear and her cubs foraging together in the picturesque meadows. These images are accompanied by a striking photograph of Wildlife Rangers erecting a dual-sided sign that carries a simple yet impactful message: “Speeding kills bears.”
These signs are strategically placed in areas where tragic accidents have occurred involving bears being struck and killed by vehicles.
Yosemite National Park officials reveal that the female bear, affectionately known as the mama bear, has faced considerable challenges in ensuring the survival of her cubs during their first year of life.
“Just last week a yearling was hit and killed near the Yosemite Creek drainage along Tioga Road,” wrote Yosemite officials on Facebook. “For these two brave cubs and their mother, and many other critters large and small crossing the Tioga Road, the remaining few months of the road being open are a critical time for their survival. Black bear cubs already face low odds of survival in their first year of life without the threat of speeding vehicles. Generally, about a quarter of black bear cubs die in their first year of life, and a third die within the next two years.”
These grim statistics do not account for the additional threat posed by vehicle collisions. Shockingly, this year alone, 14 bears have been struck by vehicles within the park.
It is a known fact that this bear family frequently crosses the Tioga Road, often doing so multiple times in a single day. Every time these bears approach and navigate the road, their fate rests in the hands of human drivers who may be unknowingly speeding and unaware of potential wildlife crossings.
Yosemite National Park authorities are making an earnest appeal to all visitors: please drive carefully and adhere to posted speed limits when exploring the park. By doing so, we can collectively contribute to preserving the lives of these magnificent creatures and ensure that black bear cubs have a fighting chance to thrive in their natural habitat.