Bear Facts

June 27–July 3, 2021

updated as often as possible

Interested in stories from the Bear Team? Follow the Yosemite Bear Team Blog to read about the challenges and successes of Yosemite's bear management.

Bear Incidents


Wilderness: 4

Campgrounds: 2

Parking lots and roadsides: 1

Residential: 0

Other areas: 8

Total: 15

Number of incidents last year: 33

So far this year, incidents are:

  • up by 650% compared to last year (when the park was closed from late March to early June)
  • up by 50% compared to the year with fewest incidents (2019)
  • down by 96% compared to the year with the most incidents (1998)

Activity Summary

Raspberry season is here and bringing with it a massive influx of bears to Yosemite Valley. We are seeing a huge increase in bears entering development and getting close to people in their search for food, particularly since many of the best berry patches are in and around the areas where people walk or gather. Bears are initially coming in for the berries but finding left out or unattended human food, leading to a big uptick in bear incidents and food conditioned behavior from bears. When bears get used to people they can lose their natural fear/avoidance behaviors which can lead them into trouble. Getting food from people only quickens this dangerous pattern.

Beaches and riversides in particular have been hot spot for incidents; with bears grabbing unattended backpacks with food and even approaching people sitting with their food. If you find yourself in this kind of a situation yell loudly and make as much noise as you (and your group) can. Try to pack up your food and move away with it if the bear isn’t deterred by the yelling. Campground bear activity has also increased, with bears persistently entering the campgrounds (day and night) and having to be scared out by rangers numerous times in a row. Please help us keep these bears wild by promptly reporting all bears that are in/near development or approaching people. Please scare bears away by yelling aggressively and keeping a safe distance ( at least 50 yards/meters) from bears

Slow Down!

So far this year, at least eight bears have been hit by cars along park roads, at least one of which died. Help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals on roads.

Let us know if you see a bear, no matter where it is or what it's doing. Call 209/372-0322 or send an email.

Learn more about bear biology and bear management in Yosemite.

Fascinating Bear Fact

Bears can run as fast as 35 mph. The average human athlete runs at around 15 mph, and the fastest known human (Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt) runs at 27 mph. Bears win.

Note: A bear incident occurs when a bear causes a monetary loss to a person--that is, if the bear causes property damage or obtains food. Bear incidents also include cases of bears causing injury to a person (which are fairly uncommon).

Last updated: July 16, 2021

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