The park, particularly the back country is home to a complete variety of wildlife. Bears and mountain lions live here and may be occasionally seen by the visitor. Learn about interacting successfully with wildlife by taking a minute and reading the following information. Both you and the wild creatures will benefit!
Whiskeytown is home to a healthy population of black bears. Adult male black bears usually weigh less than 400 pounds, while adult females usually weigh less than 250 pounds. Despite their ungainly appearance, bears can run at speeds of up to 30 mph for short distances. They can also climb trees and swim. Black bears see in color, but their eyesight is not as well developed as in humans. To compensate they have good hearing and a very keen sense of smell.
Bears are omnivorous which means they eat both plants and animals. Most of a bear's waking hours are spent searching for food. Given a bear's keen sense of smell, constant search for food, and high intelligence, many camping areas in bear country are experiencing bear problems. The Whiskeytown area is no exception. Problems arise when bears get into human food or trash. When eating human food or garbage bears become "conditioned" to being around people and, in their quest for food, ultimately become aggressive and dangerous. In some cases bears have taken food from visitors. By following a few simple rules you can help keep Whiskeytown's bears wild and behaving naturally:
1. Never feed bears or leave food unattended even for a few minutes. 2. Always use bear-proof food storage lockers and bear-proof trash containers. 3. If bear-proof food storage lockers are not provided, store food odor-free containers and out of sight in a vehicle, preferably the trunk. Store food carefully as bears can break into vehicles. 4. If a bear approaches, stand up, wave your arms, and shout or make loud noises. 5. Be bold but use good judgment. If you feel threatened, walk away, don't run.
Report all bear sightings to a park ranger or headquarters at (530) 242-3400.
MOUNTAIN LION COUNTRY
Few people ever see these elusive animals in the wild. However, mountain lions have been known to attack people and pets.
When visiting mountain lion territory precautions should be taken:
1. Avoid hiking alone. 2. Don't run, running may stimulate the lion’s instinct to chase. 3. Watch children closely, and never let them run ahead of you on the trail.
If you do encounter a mountain lion, try these behaviors to convince the lion you are not prey and may be dangerous yourself:
1. Face the lion and stand upright. 2. Make eye contact. 3. Do not turn your back on the mountain lion. Back away slowly. 4. Pick small children up and place on your shoulders. Spread your arms, open your coat, and try and make yourself appear larger. 5. If the lion behaves aggressively wave your hands, shout and throw sticks or rocks. If attacked, fight back. Do not "play dead."
Report all mountain lion sightings to a park ranger or headquarters at 530-242-3400.