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Fewest Encounters Between Bears And People In Yosemite In 40 Years

National Park Service / courtesy
 

National Park Service / courtesy

The National Park Service says a program instituted 15 years ago has reduced the number of incidents involving campers, their  food, and bears in Yosemite National Park.

The park service says the number of incidents peaked in 1998. There were 1600 reports of bears breaking into cars, stealing food, or threatening people in Yosemite.

Ranger Scott Gediman says a public service campaign called "Keep Bears Wild" and storage lockers for campers' food has reduced the number of incidents to 76 this  year.
 
"The whole idea was, if people store their food properly, bears are certainly going to see people and vehicles and campgrounds, but if they  don't associate those things with food then they won't be  breaking into cars or foraging through campgrounds."
 
Gediman says tracking devices show the bears are dining on acorns near Tioga Road this year, but there has not been an increase of bears that  ventured into neighboring communities. 
 
The campaign costs $500,000 a year.
 
In 2000, damage from bear break-ins was about $660,000. This year, it was $4,900.