YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — While the humans are away, the bears will play.
That’s what rangers at Yosemite National Park say they’re seeing on the vast natural preserve, which is typically crowded with visitors but has been nearly empty since mid-March due to coronavirus.
Staff members say they’re not seeing a population boom in animals necessarily, but they are seeing more of them, as the park’s shy inhabitants explore places they don’t typically venture.
As the hustle and bustle subsides, Yosemite’s population of 300 to 500 black bears has decided to come out and have a poke around areas they don’t typically visit.
In a Facebook livestream, one ranger referred to the situation as a “party” for the animals.
“They know where to be — (and) when — to eat food,” Ranger Katie explained. For example, it’s typical for rangers to see bears avoiding a particular campground during the busy summer. But when that same area is closed for the offseason, spotting bears wandering around is common.
In the same way, the black bears are now foraging for food or even just basking in the sun in parts of the park they typically avoid. Katie said it will be a bit of “learning curve” when humans return to the park, and the bears are once again forced to share their space.
Yosemite has a variety of online resources for families who want to learn more about the park while they’re stuck at home. Check out their variety of streaming seminars on Facebook and other resources on the park’s website.