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6th Annual Bear Awareness Day At Yosemite

Yosemite National Park held its 6th Annual Bear Awareness Days at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and Bear Awareness/Apple Picking in the Curry Village Orchard Lot last week as part of a continuing public awareness campaign designed to educate visitors to the park that they play a key role in protecting Yosemite´s bears.

The bear management program has significantly reduced incidents in the park in since 1998 through these efforts.

These events helped park visitors recognize that keeping Yosemite´s bears wild is an ongoing and evolving effort that cannot be solved in a few years time. Bear management is the responsibility of National Park Service rangers and biologists, but also of visitors to the park.

To accomplish this goal, Yosemite National Park rangers and biologists and Wildlife Conservation Society researchers educated visitors as well as park employees about the behavior, biology, and management of Yosemite National Park´s black bears. Demonstrations of when and how culvert traps are used and radio telemetry to track collared bears was also of interest to visitors.

The National Park Service, The Wildlife Conservation Society, and the National Wildlife Research Center have pioneered a new alarm system that notifies park staff and researchers through the park radio system when a radio collared bear enters a developed area. This provides further data about bear behavior and allows quick response by bear management staff when one of these bears enters a developed area.

Additionally, Yosemite National Park staff, Delaware North Company-Yosemite´s employees, Yosemite Association volunteers, Yosemite Institute employees and their students, and park visitors were involved in a cooperative effort to remove apples from the historic, though non-native, apple orchard at Curry Village. Each fall, the apples attract the bears into the developed areas of Yosemite Valley and alter their natural diets. By removing the apples, the bears will return to natural food sources found throughout the park.

Apple removing efforts continued through September 10 at Lamon´s Orchard (near the DNC stables).

Through these events and through continually educating visitors about bear behavior in the park through efforts like the Yosemite Wild Bear Project, it is hoped to significantly reduce the number of human/bear incidents in Yosemite National Park over an extended period of time.