Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Yosemite Outsmarts its Food-Stealing Bears

By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer | March 03, 2014 05:37pm ET

Remembering to lock up everything from baby wipes to bratwurst may be irksome for Yosemite National Park visitors, but a new study finds the park's stringent food storage rules slashed the amount of human food eaten by black bears by 63 percent.

Yosemite National Park is home to hundreds of black bears — no one keeps an accurate count — only some of which seek out human food and garbage. After a record 1,584 bear incidents in 1998, park officials enacted new food storage requirements to stop bears from stealing food and garbage. These measures help prevent bear deaths and human-bear interactions, because a food-reliant bear often becomes an aggressive bear, according to the park. With more than 4 million visitors yearly, Yosemite now spends about $500,000 annually on supplies, outreach and activities meant to prevent bears from getting into human food.

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