Bear Facts

August 27–September 2, 2023

updated as often as possible

Bear Incidents


Wilderness: 2

Campgrounds: 3

Parking lots and roadsides: 0

Residential: 17

Other areas: 4

Total: 26

Number of incidents last year: 38

So far this year, incidents are:

  • up by 18% compared to last year
  • up by 30% compared to the year with the fewest incidents (2019)
  • down by 98% compared to the year with the most incidents (1998)

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).

Activity Summary

Bears remained very active on the Yosemite Valley floor in August. As the raspberries dry out in late summer, black bears are starting to eat other fruit such as non-native cultivated apple trees. Last month park employees and volunteers picked over 1.5 tons of non-native apples to prevent bears from coming into developed areas to eat these non-native foods. When bears spend time in development (even eating natural food), they can lose their fear of people or possibly obtain human food. The significant effort spent picking non-native fruit goes a long way to keep bears from entering developed areas and keeping bears wild.

Bears obtained unsecured human food at least twice in Yosemite Valley in August. One incident was in Curry Village, where a bear entered an open locker and obtained bagels and sandwich rolls. The following day, the same bear obtained ramen from an occupied Housekeeping Camp tent cabin. This is an example of how quickly a bear’s behavior can escalate when they get human food. If the bear had not obtained food from visitors in Curry Village, the bear may not have then entered an occupied tent cabin looking for more food. Visitors are reminded to treat your food locker like a refrigerator—even if you are nearby, food storage lockers should always be kept closed and latched except for when you are actively taking food out or putting food away. Turning away from your food for a second can change the trajectory of a bear’s life. Proper food storage means keeping food within arm’s reach at all times if not locked away. Proper food storage at all times is critical to protecting bears and visitors in Yosemite National Park.

There were an additional seven incidents in the El Portal administrative site in the last week of August and first few days of September. A bear obtained dog food and birdseed left outside on two occasions by a resident and then caused property damage to multiple other buildings. Bears that obtain food at a location will often continue to return and cause damage to access more food. Residents are reminded to close and latch all windows and doors when they are not home—bears are active day and night but this bear has obtained most of its people food from unsecured homes in the middle of the day. Residents should also remove attractants from around their homes—feed pets indoors, remove bird feeders, keep trash and recycling secured inside a building, and pick fruit from fruit trees. Residents and visitors are also reminded to yell aggressively at any bear inside areas of development because wild bears should not feel comfortable in these areas.

Slow Down!

So far this year, at least 14 bears have been hit by cars along park roads (at least three of them 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

The oldest wild American black bear recorded was 39 and a half years old when she died in Minnesota.

Other Wildlife

Voles comprise almost 90% of the diet of great gray owls (Strix nebulosa).

Last updated: September 7, 2023

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