Yosemite, CA – Yosemite National Park officials report a record low for human-bear incidents attributing much of the success to its “Keep Bears Wild” campaign.
The first human-bear management program began in 1975 and this year park officials are boasting an all-time low with 76 incidents resulting in $4,909 in property damage. It represents a 95% reduction in number of incidents and a 99% reduction in property damage from the record high in 1998. During that year, there were nearly 1,600 incidents and $660,000 in property damage. Park officials note that in 1998, bears typically broke into 10 to 15 cars a night in search of food.
In 2000, the park unveiled the “Keep Bears Wild” campaign, which focuses on educating visitors and employees about their responsibility to store food properly while in the park. Park officials point to that program as a major reason for the record low. “We would like to thank park visitors for their help in making this campaign an overwhelming success,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “There is no more of a rewarding experience than seeing a bear foraging naturally.”
Additionally, this marks the fourth year in a row with no injuries caused by bears in Yosemite. A bear incident is defined as “when a bear causes property damage, obtains food, acts aggressively, or injures a person,” according to park rangers.