Yosemite Bear Sightings Have Quadrupled Since Coronavirus Closure

Photo: Josh Carter

The general human public still isn’t allowed in Yosemite National Park and it seems like the animals are loving it. Park rangers have been quick to post their sightings of wildlife roaming around the wilderness at will, a rare sight for the park that sees 4-5 million visitors a year.

Not only has the park’s vast wildlife enjoyed the empty roads and usually bustling public spaces, bear sightings have quadrupled in the area, according to a park ranger.

“It’s not like they aren’t usually here,” said the staffer to the Los Angeles Times, “it’s that they usually hang back at the edges or move in the shadows.”

Bear in Yosemite. Photo: Steve Jurvetson

As the bears have awoken from their typical winter hibernation, they are finding free reign in the 750,000 acres park.

“There can be literally walls of cars, stop-and-go traffic or people in the park,” said bear biologist Ranger Katie on a Facebook livestream on Sunday. “Now that there are no people, the bears are literally just walking down the road to get to where they need to go, which is kind of cool to see.”

Park rangers took to social media to show the lively bear activity since the Coronavirus closure took hold in March:

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Yosemite National Park is home to about 300-500 black bears. Though there hasn't been an increase in their population since the park closure, bears have been seen more frequently than usual, likely due to the absence of visitors in Yosemite Valley. If you tuned into our Facebook livestream yesterday, wildlife biologist Ranger Katie showed us how Yosemite's bear team uses radio collars to track some of the park's bears, and we picked up the signal of a large male bear in the meadow nearby! Shortly afterward, that same bear was caught on camera by one of our volunteers, who watched from the window of the Rangers' Club as it climbed up a nearby tree. The bear sat high on a branch for a little while and then struggled to decide how to safely get back down, making this one of the more entertaining wildlife sightings we've had this spring! Head over to our Facebook page to view yesterday's livestream, and check out www.KeepBearsWild.org for more information about protecting Yosemite's iconic bears! #Yosemite #NationalPark

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While us humans hope the Coronavirus closures don’t last much longer, it’s nice to see the wildlife enjoying the break. Can you imagine having the entire 750,000 acre park to yourself?!

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