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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bear Facts: Yosemite National Park Bear activity on upswing both in backcountry and heavily visited areas. #CaParks

During the first two weeks of July, 10 incidents were reported in the backcountry that involved a bear either obtaining food or damaging backpackers’ property.

Bear Facts July 14 – July 21
Bear Activity Summary:
Yosemite Valley continues to have multiple bears active throughout the area. This week a bear caused two incidents in Valley Campgrounds. One of these incidents was due to visitors leaving food out after cooking at night. Please be sure to store all food and scented items in a secure bear locker when staying in the campground.
A bear continues to be very active around the top of the Snow Creek trail. Many visitors have reported seeing it in or around their camp. Additionally backpackers have been losing bear cans due to the bear rolling them off the edge of a cliff or into the nearby stream. Always place your bear can in a secure location well away from any hazards.
A bear obtained garbage this week in Tuolumne Meadows campground. Please protect your property and the bears by always securing food and scented items before leaving your campsite for any reason. If you see a bear during your visit please report it to the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322.
Red Bear, Dead Bear: So far this year, Seven bears have been hit by vehicles. Please protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and paying attention while driving.
Interesting Bear Fact:  Bears suck up water rather than lapping it like a cat or dog. (C. Lee-Roney)

Yosemite bear
Bear raids food from open container. Photo Jeffrey Brooker, courtesy Yosemite National Park

This week Bears have already caused three incidents this week in Yosemite Valley campgrounds, reports Caitlin Lee-Roney, a wildlife biologist and expert insider at Yosemite National Park.

“All three incidents occurred because either food or attractants were left out after campers went to sleep,” she wrote in a post sent out Tuesday morning.
Always store all food and scented items in a latched bear-proof food locker. Never leave food or anything with the scent of food in your car or unattended.
Bears continue to be active in Yosemite’s backcountry. In the wilderness near the Snow Creek footbridge, she reported that “many visitors have reported seeing a bear rolling bear canisters away from campsites.”
“A sow with cubs has been reportedly checking out bear canisters at the Cloud’s Rest junction on the John Muir Trail,” she wrote.
Always place bear cans in backcountry campsites within ear-shot or headlamp range and be prepared to scare bears away from camp at night by yelling, she said.
A bear even attempted to gain entrance to a residence in El Portal this week through an open window.
Weekly Incidents By Location
  • 3 – Snow Creek
  • 3 – John Muir Trail
  • 1 – Illouette Canyon
  • 1 – Matterhorn Canyon
  • 2 – North Pines Campground
  • 1 – Camp 4 Campground
  • 1 – El Portal

Yearly Incident Total
  • Parking Lots – 4 incidents, $720 damage
  • Campgrounds – 13 incidents, $208 damage
  • Other Areas – 18 incidents, 1,1225
  • Wilderness – 34 incidents, $2,255 damage

In addition, vehicles hit two bears on park roads. One bear was hit near the Big Oak Flat entrance while the other was hit on Highway 41 near Grouse Creek. So far this year, vehicles have hit nine bears in the park.
Other Wildlife Sightings: Lee-Roney reported two mountain lion encounters this week. One lion was reported on the trail to Ostrander Lake, she said. The other lion was reported crossing Highway 41 near the Wawona Campground.

Park visitors who sight a bear on a food raid report the encounter to the Save-A-Bear Hotline at (209) 372-0322.

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