Yosemite Reports Fewest Bear Incidents Since 1975

Park credits education campaign

This year saw a 95 percent reduction in human-bear incidents from a record high of 1,600 in 1998. (Ellen Finch / Wikipedia)

Human-bear interactions in Yosemite are at a 40-year low, Yosemite National Park announced in a press release last week. Even though Yosemite bears are getting smarter, just 76 bear incidents—which include stealing food and acting aggressively toward people—and $4,909 in property damage were reported in the park this year, according to the release. This year is also the fourth in a row that a bear has not injured or killed a person.

Numbers from 2015 show a major drop from 1998, when a record high of 1,600 bear interactions and $660,000 in damages were reported in Yosemite. During that summer, bears were breaking into ten to 15 cars per night in search of food. From 1975 to 1985, human food made up the largest part of the diet for Yosemite’s bears.

Park officials attribute the reduction in incidents to the Keep Bears Wild campaign, which began in 2000 to educate visitors and employees on bear protocol, such as keeping pets protected at night, cleaning food off grills, and using bear-proof food storage containers.

“We would like to thank park visitors for their help in making this campaign an overwhelming success,” Don Neubacher, superintendent of Yosemite National Park, said in the press release. “There is no more of a rewarding experience than seeing a bear foraging naturally.”

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