While most of us are stuck at home, the bears in Yosemite National Park are having a spring break rager as the near-empty park has allowed them to roam freely. The Los Angeles Times reports that park rangers have noticed an increased presence of bears, bobcats, and coyotes throughout the 7.5-mile valley, as just 100 to 200 park service employees tend to the park. April is generally a packed month for Yosemite, with last year seeing around 308,000 visitors.
According to CBS News, in a Facebook live stream a park ranger simply known as Ranger Katie, a biologist who has a decade of experience with black bears, explained that normally the high volume of visitors during spring would create walls of cars and traffic in the park, “For the bears, they normally have to pick through these little corridors that they have to move through in the valley to get from Point A to Point B… Now, that there are no people the bears are literally just walking down the road to get where they need to go, which is kind of cool to see.”
View this post on Instagram
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
That sounds both beautiful and terrifying, especially considering the bears are definitely going to become fond of life without us around ruining things with our general human obnoxiousness. Ranger Katie explains that this abnormal absence of humans might be a problem when the park finally reopens, as typically bears are exposed to humans within the first year of their lives.
Check out Yosemite’s various social media accounts for some views of what the park looks like undisturbed. It’s a trip. Not literally, but you know, it’s either that or look out your window.