Yosemite Human-Bear Encounters Hit 40-Year Low
“Keep Bears Wild” campaign bears fruit.
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The “Keep Bears Wild” program instituted 15 years ago has drastically reduced the number of encounters between bears and humans in Yosemite National Park.
This year, only 76 incidents, ranging from bears stealing food to bears acting aggressively towards humans, have been reported, along with $4,909 in property damage. Also 2015 marks the fourth year in a row that no human has been killed or injured by a bear.
From 1975 to 1985, human food made up the largest part of Yosemite’s bears diet. In 1998, the number of human-bear encounters peaked, with 1,600 reports of bear interactions, including bears breaking into ten to fifteen cars a night and property damages at the park totaling $660,000.
In 2000 Park officials implemented the “Keep Bears Wild” campaign, which taught campers how to protect pets at night, store food properly in bear-proof food storage containers, and keep a clean campsite so to not attract bears.
Don Neubacher, superintendent of Yosemite National Park, said in a press release: “We would like to thank park visitors for their help in making this campaign an overwhelming success. There is no more of a rewarding experience than seeing a bear foraging naturally.”