May 25, 2020
Bears thrive at Yosemite National Park without pesky humans around

Bears thrive at Yosemite National Park without pesky humans around


A happy Yosemite black bear.

National Park Service/Bob Roney

With Yosemite National Park in California closed to the public due to coronavirus
concerns, the wildlife seems to be flourishing. In fact, animals like bears, bobcats and coyotes that usually shy away from crowds are venturing into areas where people normally camp or park their cars. 

Yosemite National Park is home to about 300 to 500 black bears, Yosemite National Park posted on its Instagram on Monday. “Though there hasn’t been an increase in their population since the park closure, bears have been seen more frequently than usual, likely due to the absence of visitors in Yosemite Valley,” the park said. 

The national park closed on March 20 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Only around 100 to 200 park service employees and essential workers are still on site, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On April 2, Yosemite National Park posted a video on Facebook titled “Stillness in Yosemite Valley.” It shows wild animals including coyotes, deer and other park creatures enjoying the landscape without tourists trying to take their pictures. 

“While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks, it’s reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has,” the Facebook post said. “Wildlife is becoming more active, perhaps enjoying having the park mostly to themselves.”

Even though one Yosemite hotel worker says the “bear population has quadrupled” since the closure, it’s more likely wildlife isn’t multiplying but instead merely feeling more comfortable roaming in places humans aren’t used to seeing them.

Considering over 4 million tourists normally visit the park every year, having Yosemite suddenly become vacant means animals don’t have to fear being hit by cars or harassed by Instagram influencers trying to get the ultimate wildlife selfie

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