Yosemite Rangers Use Technology To Save Bears From Cars

Yosemite National Park wildlife biologist Ryan Leahy says he hopes a website keeps both people and bears safe.

Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio


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Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio

Yosemite National Park wildlife biologist Ryan Leahy says he hopes a website keeps both people and bears safe.

Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio

People adore saying black bears when they revisit Yosemite National Park in California. But encounters don’t always go well. The park has come adult with a new approach to keep humans and bears safe.

Fresno State University tyro Quiang Chang was walking recently with his friends along a rushing Merced River. It was his fifth time visiting Yosemite National Park, and he hadn’t seen a bear.

Keeping Bears Wild — Or Trying — At National Parks

But if they appear, Chang said, “I substantially would only sensitively … only observe them and take a picture.”

Keeping a healthy distance from bears is accurately what park officials wish people to do. But training a open to consider this approach hasn’t been easy, says National Park Service orator Scott Gediman. Twenty years ago, human-bear encounters in Yosemite were really common.

“It was not atypical to have 3 or 4 vehicles damaged into any night,” he says.

Bears would slice open automobile doors or pound windows in hunt of food. But others are craftier. One park caller even took a video of a bear opening a automobile doorway with a paws.

In 1998, there were 1,600 encounters with bears. Now, there are fewer than 100 any year, says Yosemite National Park wildlife biologist Ryan Leahy. That’s since park rangers have worked to teach a open on storing food properly, and Leahy says they now use record to lane a bears.

An American black bear (they are mostly brown) is seen in Yosemite National Park. Rangers wish tracking a bears’ locations will assistance forestall a animals from being strike by cars.

Yosemite National Park around AP


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Yosemite National Park around AP

An American black bear (they are mostly brown) is seen in Yosemite National Park. Rangers wish tracking a bears’ locations will assistance forestall a animals from being strike by cars.

Yosemite National Park around AP

Leahy works in a cabin on a corner of Yosemite Valley. He’s tracking bears online in genuine time regulating a GPS collars a animals wear.

In a past, he says, tellurian communication with bears mostly resulted in carrying to kill a animals. By regulating these tracking tools, fewer and fewer bears are killed. If a bear gets too tighten to people, Leahy’s group can shock it away, locate it or immigrate it.

Tracking information from a past few years points to another trend: Bears are being strike by cars, and speeding is now their biggest threat. Leahy says 28 were strike final year, and many of them died.

“You’re articulate about 10 percent of a bears potentially being strike by vehicles any year,” he says. “Just negligence down a small bit will give we that interlude stretch compulsory to forestall a collision.”

Black bears are tracked in Yosemite National Park regulating telemetry and GPS collars.

Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio


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Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio

Black bears are tracked in Yosemite National Park regulating telemetry and GPS collars.

Ezra David Romero/Valley Public Radio

The key, he says, is education. His group has combined an interactive map-based website where a open can lane a lives of comparison bears and see ubiquitous areas where they’re strike a most.

Leahy says a bears’ locations are behind on a site so people aren’t means to lane them in genuine time. On a site, park visitors can also learn about how to be protected if a bear is around.

“So what we wish to do with this website in a certain approach is rivet people before they get here: ‘Hey, here’s a genuine story about black bears in Yosemite National Park,’ ” Leahy says.

How Yosemite Keeps Its Bears' Paws Off Campers' Hamburgers

He hopes a site means fewer midnight calls with a dented automobile and possibly a passed or bleeding bear.

Ezra David Romero is a contributor with NPR member hire Valley Public Radio. You can follow him @ezraromero.

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