Yosemite Is Empty, So the Bears Are “Having a Party”

When humans are away, the animals will throw a rager

A black bear in a tree at Yosemite National Park
Turns out bears don't particularly like huge crowds and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Screenshot via Yosemite National Park on Facebook
By Alex Lauer / April 18, 2020 6:30 am

“The Bare Necessities” song in The Jungle Book, Fozziwig’s annual Christmas fête in The Muppet Christmas Carol, literally any Yogi Bear picnic — in the long and storied history of bear parties, most of them are decidedly fictional. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the real mammals are giving the animated ones a run for their money in national parks across the U.S.

As CNN reported, NPS Ranger Katie Patrick of Yosemite National Park took to Facebook Live to give an update on the state of things now that it is closed to visitors:

So we’ve been getting a lot of questions actually about: what are the animals doing since the park has been closed? And for the most part, I think they’re having a party.

She went on to elaborate about the black bear population specifically, noting that while the animals tend to hide from crowds, they’re now “literally walking down the road to get to where they need to go.”

Don’t take her word for it. The day after Patrick’s Facebook Live video went up, the park posted a rare video of a bear scrambling up and down a tree: 

Yosemite black bear climbing a tree

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 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!Check out yesterday's livestream to learn more about Yosemite's black bears and how we can all help to keep them wild: https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS/videos/664884761011559/You can also find information about protecting Yosemite's iconic bears at www.KeepBearsWild.org

Posted by Yosemite National Park on Monday, April 13, 2020

“Yosemite National Park is home to about 300-500 black bears,” writes Yosemite in the post. “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.”

Before Yosemite reopens, maybe brush up on the dos and don’ts in national parks. Then maybe the bears won’t have to go back into hiding again.

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