Bear Facts

September 12, 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: 8

Campgrounds: 5

Parking lots and roadsides: 1

Residential: 7

Other areas: 23

Total: 44

Number of incidents last year: 39

So far this year, incidents are:

  • up by 10% compared to last year (when the park was closed from late March to early June)
  • up by 120% compared to the year with fewest incidents (2019)
  • down by 97% compared to the year with the most incidents (1998)

Activity Summary

Bear incidents in Yosemite have slowed in the last week. For the first time in 13 weeks, we have not had a single bear incident. However, we are continuing to receive numerous reports of bears all over the park. In El Portal, there has been an increase in reports of bears in all residential areas likely drawn in by late summer fruit. During this time it is extremely important to secure you homes and remove any attractants from your yard (clean dirty barbeques, pick fruit from trees, store pet food indoors, etc.) to keep bears away and prevent them from investigating your home.

In Yosemite Valley, we have been receiving more reports of bears on the Mist Trail; one bear even using the railed steps to come down from the top of Vernal Fall during the middle of the day. If you run into bears on trails, give them plenty of space and protect your food—do not abandon it. Given the many heavily populated, narrow, switchbacking trails in the park, it is easy for a bear to quickly become surrounded with no exit if it is not given proper space. Always try to maintain 50 yards from a bear, even if that means backtracking and waiting for the bear pass. If the bear approaches you (closer than 50 yards) yell as loudly as possible and try to scare the bear off.

Slow Down!

So far this year, at least 19 bears have been hit by cars along park roads, at least five 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

A study on black bear attacks in the U.S. in recent decades showed that 52% of attacks were defensive and done by female bears with cubs. Predatory attacks made up just 15% of total attacks with nearly all of these being done by male bears. The remaining 33% of attacks were food-motivated attacks by both male and female bears.

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: September 17, 2021

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