Bear Facts

November 21, 2020

updated as often as possible

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Bear Incidents


Wilderness: 10

Campgrounds: 3

Parking lots and roadsides: 0

Residential: 8

Other areas: 15

Total: 36

Number of incidents last year: 22

So far this year, incidents are up by 64% compared to the same time last year (the year with the fewest incidents), and down 98% since 1998 (the year with the most incidents).

Activity Summary

Bear activity has significantly slowed down in recent weeks in Yosemite Valley, with most bear activity currently happening in El Portal, the park’s administrative area. Bears are still focusing their large fall appetite on the acorns that are prevalent this time of year. Recent bear incidents have involved bears ripping into rooves, and siding of structures to get at stashed acorns from woodpeckers and other animals.

It is extremely important to remember to yell at bears that are in and around development, even if they are foraging on natural food. Though it is very tempting to get close for a picture, or just to watch these incredible animals, it is important not to give into this urge. Giving bears plenty of space, and yelling at them if they are in residential areas or near people is critical to keep bears natural fear of humans. When bears become too comfortable around people, they will often start causing damage to structures and vehicles, or will even become too bold around people creating safety concerns.

Slow Down!

So far this year, at least 17 bears have been hit by cars along park roads (5 died on scene). 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

Sows give birth to their cubs in their dens in the winter (right about now). The number of cubs they have is dependent on how much weight they have put on over the summer and fall. Though one or two cubs is typical, a particularly fat sow may have three or more cubs!

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: November 23, 2020

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