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Warm Weather Brings Out Black Bears In Yosemite

Courtesy of Amanda Swinhart

Black bears were spotted near Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park on Jan. 18.

Courtesy of Amanda Swinhart

Thanks to California's warm spell, Yosemite visitors might catch a glimpse of a bear in the middle of winter, which is not as unusual as it might seem.

Black bears were recently spotted near Hetch Hetchy ReservoirYosemite National Park Ranger Scott Gediman says bears are actually not "true hibernators."

"The fact that bears are active this time of year is not all that unnatural and really isn't a cause for concern," Gediman said. "The thing that will make it a cause for concern is if the bears start getting human food."

John Buckley with the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center agrees the warm spell won't have much of an impact on the estimated 350 to 400 bears in Yosemite. 

"But there clearly could be long-term effects for bears if they are out and active during a period with the least amount of available food, and so it's better for them to be hibernating and dormant," Buckley said.

The warm weather has also brought an increase in visitors to Yosemite. The park is reminding visitors to take precautions with their food.

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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